Movie Details
The Transcend

The Transcend

The story begins with a young novel writer, Yan Dong who faces obstacles in his writing career when he published his first spiritual and supernatural genre novel. He is being criticized all the time for his work. His manager Bao Jin has no choice but to take drastic action in order to fix the situation. Bao Jin dares Yan Dong to go further into the unknown realm so he can compose a more believable novel for the genre. He suggested Yan Dong to use all kinds of traditional customaries to open his 'third' eye in order to see spirits and ghosts, to have a real experience for more inspirations. How far will Yan Dong actually go in order to accomplish what is expected of him as a successful writer?

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: Na
Classification: P13
General Release Date: 09 Jan 2014
Genre: Horror / Romance
Running Time: 1 Hour 56 Minutes
Distributor: MM2 ENTERTAINMENT SDN BHD
Cast: Mindee Ong, Teddy Chin, James Wong, Cheng Kam Cheong
Director: Ryon Lee, James Wong
Format: 2D


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Review
Writer: Casey Lee

Writer Ratings:
Overall: 3.5 Out of 5
Cast: 2.5 Out of 5
Plot: 4.0 Out of 5
Effects: 3.5 Out of 5
Cinematography: 3.0 Out of 5

Watch this if you liked: “The Eye” and "Until the Break of Dawn".

Yan Dong (Teddy Chin) is a horror novelist whose horror novels are not particularly liked because they are undermined by Yan's skepticism for the supernatural. To find inspiration for his next work, Yan's manager Bao Jing (James Wong) suggests that Yan should seek out ghostly materials by lodging together with a group of Taoist 'transcenders', who conduct rituals and pray for the souls of the dead to pass peacefully into the afterlife. Among the apprentices living there is a troubled Le Le (Mindee Ong), who has been able to see spirits as a child that caused a tragic accident in her family.

Heavily influenced by the Taoist perceptions of death and the afterlife, producer Ryon Lee makes his directorial debut as a co-director with fellow producer James Wong for a ghostly outing that makes good use of its influences with some clever interpretation of its rituals and the local Malaysian folklore of seeing the dead. Many local Chinese audience may or may not have heard about the whispered methods to opens one's 'third eye' here, but they would certainly find it both horrifying and humourous when Yan goes around standing on coconuts at a crossroad at midnight and scarily looking between his legs, while making sure that he doesn't land on his feet.

This certainly adds a rare flavour that hasn't been found in recent local horrors that makes it not only accessible and unique for local audiences, but intensifies the scares when they bring to life the situations often only heard in ghost stories, like what you should do when a you have an extra 'passenger' in your car at night.

Despite what the trailer of "The Transcend" may suggest of the terrifying consequences in search of the 'third eye' that makes it easy to dismiss it as another stab at the local horror genre, it actually transcends from just wanting to scare the audience, by wanting to share the heartbreaks that created these restless spirits. It is not very often when you have to experience the feeling of seeing a ghostly shade standing beside you not as an object of terror, but one that signifies tragedy and torment faced in life.

This is done admirably by its serious cast that doesn't give a 'woodstock' performance, especially from Chin and Ong, who proves that you don't need a pretty face to have a presence on camera. While their chemistry carries the weight of pain and fear in their roles well as the plot progresses, it is most certainly helped by the supporting cast that gives a dreary enough performance to put a little lump in your throat.

Added with some pretty decent effects from Taiwan and "The Transcend" are certainly more than meets the eye. It is one that needs seeking out if whether you have seen too many local horror movies or think that there's nothing to them.


Cinema Online, 15 January 2014
   

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