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^] (1995)
Out of the Dark

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ksbutterbox
Date: 03/12/2002
Summary: Better after repeated viewings...

I like this one the more I see it. It has the same amusing and creepy "headless" qualities of Jeff Lau's madcap classic "Operation Pink Squad 2". Karen Mok goes "over the top" like she did in Wong Kar Wai's "Fallen Angels". Granny character they always use in HK movies flips me out. The things they get this woman to do are hilarious! Flawed?..sure but it's still alot of fun! One more thing..Ng Man Tat is not in this movie. Kind of a refreshing change I think..

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 02/12/2002
Summary: An atypical Stephen Chiau film

Seems to have a pretty bad rep as Stephen Chiau films go, and I can kind of see why, though I did like the movie. OOTD is a supernatural comedy, where the soul of an old woman comes back to haunt the appartment complex where she lived and died. An unlikely assortment of characters collects on location, and end up being led by Stephen Chiau... an escapee from the local asylum who models himself on Luc Besson's LEON (complete with pot plant) but is more of a ghostbuster type. Karen Mok is one of the residents, and after meeting Leon she ends up dressing up as Natalie Portman for the rest of the movie. Other characters include the inept building security team, the daughter/son/grandson of the old woman and a smack addict always looking for money for a hit.

The comedy on display here is quite unusual for Lau/Chiau - it has quite a cynical, misanthropic angle, and most of the jokes have something of a bitter core. This is most evident in some extreme violence that gets perpetuated, and the characters' utter lack of concern for those it happens to. The violence is all quite comic-book, but has a certain brutality that some might find distasteful. The tone is hence quite dark.

I suspect it is this dark edge that puts most people off the movie, but I think that if you're prepared for it the movie is pretty good anyway. Jeff Lau's creation of a supernatural presence had certainly come along way since OPERATION PINK SQUAD II, and it can be quite creepy at times. There's some inventive bits in there, and the whole thing is well made in a low budget way. Quite an unusual entry in Chiau's filmography, but not a terribly bad one. If nothing else, the stylish goatee he wears here is worth seeing :)

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Not only is this film little known and very hard to get, it also seems like the most atypical Stephen Chiau film I've ever seen. In fact, he doesn't even show up on screen for a full 15 minutes, and when he eventually does, it's to play a role that is somewhat different from his usual stick.

The movie starts out as your typical HK horror movie, showing various ghostly shenanigans in a high rise apartment complex. None of this is any different than the myriad of other HK horror comedies such as Troublesome Night etc. Eventually, Chiau appears as a mysterious ghost fighter. He is joined by a motley crue of building guards and residents, including perrennial sidekick Ng Man Tat and Karen Mok, and they proceed with training sessions in which they are supposed to learn how to fight ghosts. While there are some funny moments here, the movie never really came together for me. There are several movie parodies, of course, including a ripoff of the lightning scenes from Highlander. And the Stephen Chiau/Karen Mok pairing seems to be a reference to the Jean Reno/Natalie Portman duo in THE PROFESSIONAL (with Karen Mok even dressing like and wearing her hair like Natalie Portman), but none of this makes much sense or is even very funny.

Perhaps I didn't enjoy this movie as much because I was watching a Mandarin-dubbed version. Or it was simply the fact that he didn't bring anything new to this genre. Either way, I have to say this was one of the least-funny Stephen Chiau movies I have ever seen.

Reviewed by: SBates
Date: 02/01/2001
Summary: Jeff Lau's creepy comedy-horror

I saw this film one dark winter afternoon while I was fighting the flu--the opening creeped the hell out of me! Although this is at times a very juvenile comedy, and the ending is protracted a little too much, this has a lot of very claustrophobic scary scenes. Stephen Chow performed well, but this really wasn't a star vehicle for him; he's just one of a nice cast of players who all handle their funny bits very well, including Karen Mok. This film left quite a big impression on me, for whatever reason; I thought the photography was striking, making the most out of the haunted apt. house setting. Even the slapstick was tinged with a certain dark quality, rather like a Peter Jackson film like Frighteners or Braindead. I think this a very good film, save for the last 20 mins., when I did think ran itself into the ground

Reviewed by: hktopten
Date: 12/21/1999

After Chinese Odysessy I & II, I thought both Stephen Chow and Jeff Lau have gone away from the comedy into a more serious realm. Thank God I was wrong. Out of the Dark was a lot of fun. The initial scenes which set up the mood of the film was almost classic, and Stephen's entrance was a deadpan Leon from the Professional. A great supporting cast. Karen Mok continues to surprise me. There were, unlike From China with Love or Chinese Odysessy, moments where the classic Stephen Chow trademark MO LE TAU I have come to expect from Stephen Chow. All and all, though, not for everybody. More of what Sixty Million Dollar Man should have been like.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

I was sooooo disappointed. And believe me, friends, when I say aStephen Chiau movie is not good, then it really is NOT GOOD! The editing is bad, the plot (what plot?) is weak, the scenes shot at night (read: most of the film) are poorly lit and even the nifty special effects don't save the all around b-rate techniques of directing. I'm sure I've infuriated many with this lombasting, but like I said: I know whereof I speak and I should be able to come to this conclusion. Of all his movies and TVB dramas and specials, this is the first that I will not be rushing out to see again soon. I won't bore you with plotting as there is little. He plays a Leon the Professional-type, even has the goofy girl to go with, and he gets all the rent-a-security guards in an apartment complex to help his bizarre character stop some hauntings. Granted, there are some highly amusing scenes, after all this is a Stephen film, you know, but they just don't add up to anything great.

[Reviewed by Tsuzi]