Reviewed by: STSH
Summary: A frustrating mess
First, a declaration. I am an ardent fan of Chinese Ghost movies. Therefore I was able to sit through the two-odd hours of this big budget spectacular. The one consistent positive is the cinematography and look, which is lush throughout, sometimes rising to stunning and ravishing.
Reviewer Score: 3
The major failing is that more than half of the film is irritatingly silly and pointless, a failing SS shares with scores of similar Chinese and HK movies. SS is a kind of buddy- or road-movie, and depends a lot on liking the two leads. The silliness appears to have been the main effort to build this likeableness, and clearly I don't think it worked.
The developing friendship between the kind-hearted cheating fox-spirit and the naïve scholar is unconvincing at best, and SS seems to lean hard on several impressive set-pieces to move the narrative.
The most impressive sequence is ten minutes of lavish dark horror at about the 2/3 mark. Brilliant is not too strong a description. Almost as good is the brothel sequence, which is truly ravishing.
Yet these set pieces stop the story dead instead of moving things along. The plot lurches between them.
I can only recommend SS for diehard Chinese Ghost movie fans, such as myself.