Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lunar Ghosts

Director: Eduardo Sanchez
Writer: Eduardo Sanchez
Starring: Amy Smart, Tim Chiou, Dennis Chan
2008 | United States | R | 87 mins

Legends and myths both enlighten and horrify. Back in 1999 Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick used the idea of legend and myth to new heights of terror in what took audiences by surprise and became the most successful low-budget horror film of all time, The Blair Witch Project. Dividing audiences and showing Hollywood you really only need a great idea and story to scare the pants off people, The Blair Witch Project kick started low-budget horror, but both directors never really went onto direct anything for quite a few years after. But in 2008 Eduardo Sanchez would return to the theme of legends and myths with the extremely underrated Seventh Moon

Melissa (Amy Smart) and her husband Yul (Tim Chiou) are spending their honeymoon in China and are taking in the exotic festivities of the "Hungry Ghost" festival. With the help of their tour guide Ping (Dennis Chan), the couple are to travel across the countryside to meet Yul's family, but at nightfall are soon lost and stranded near a remote village. And tonight being lost is the least of their worries as it happens to be the seventh lunar cycle and, as the Chinese myth goes, on the night of the seventh moon the dead are free to roam among the living.

Seventh Moon is an extremely creepy, smart, and inventive low-budget horror film. Shot digitally with multiple cameras and minimal lighting, the fast-paced and kinetic editing keeps the tension tight and the suspense looming and looks beautiful, despite the so-called shaky cam aesthetic some viewers may find it has. Eduardo Sanchez breaths a fresh and energetic life into the script weaving the ideas of myth, ghost stories, and develops a new legend that almost feels as real as what The Blair Witch Project achieved. Amy Smart and Tim Chiou are fantastic as the couple who make real life choices, both good and bad, that Hollywood films are afraid to take. Their chemistry on screen is very good and really draws you into their characters and the situation they are faced with. The creatures themselves are very convincing and creepy, as ghosts illuminated under the moonlight. Never fully revealed,  but shadowed in the blur the cameras create, these lunar ghosts are haunting, frightening, and tragic.

The Chinese locations are authentic and the cinematography lush and frantic, Seventh Moon achieves what most low-budget horror films simply cannot, creating true suspense while remaining beautiful, realistic, and haunting. Well written with realistic dialogue and believable characters who make real choices given their situation is rare in any horror film, and Eduardo Sanchez proves he's an independent filmmaker to watch. Seventh Moon is an extremely effective chiller, both absorbing and downright scary, that develops myth and legend into unrestrained terror. Highly underrated and overlooked, this ghost story deserves to find bigger audiences and is truly a great independent horror film with a truly haunting and beautiful ending.

All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist

No comments:

Post a Comment