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23:59 Blu-ray Review

2359 Blu-ray

“23:59” is a jumbled, but effective spooker.

Set in a military recruit training camp on an island, “23:59” is an “inspired by a true ghost story” film that can best be described as “Full Metal Jacket” with ghosts. At the start of the film, we learn that urban legends have been floating around the island about a ghostly woman who haunts soldiers at the alleged time of her death (23:59). The story then cuts to a group of recruits (led by the superstitious Sergeant Kuah) which include the cowardly and frightened Tan, the bully named Dragon, and the tough Jeremy who is Tan’s only pal.

As the recruits go about their training, strange things begin to happen around camp including the appearance of another ghost, a recruit acting very peculiar, and a shocking death. Will the truth about these seemingly malevolent ghosts be revealed and will they ever find peace?

While I have long been a fan of the horror genre, it’s exceedingly difficult to find a GOOD horror film these days. Thankfully, “23:59” is a better than average genre effort. While Gilbert Chan’s screenplay could have used a few rewrites to clean up the plot holes and clumsy exposition and flashback integrations, there’s a lot to admire about this ghost tale. First and foremost, I found it refreshing that Chan focuses on character development here. So many horror films are littered with one dimensional characters whose sole purpose is to die, but Chan spends the time to gives viewers some fleshed out characters (including the ghosts!). Mr. Chan also does a fine job of creating a creepy atmosphere in a rather unique location for a ghost story. We see horror films in camps all the time, but not in military training camps.

Video/Audio

The film, which is presented in 1.78:1 1080p, may be a low budget production, but is effectively shot. While not the most glamorous transfer around, it’s definitely the best transfer you’ll get for this movie.

This disc contains English and Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio tracks. The English dub is as lousy can be, but the original language Mandarin track is a winner.

The only extras are 2 “23:59” trailers, Magnolia/Magnet/AXS TV trailers, BD-Live capabiltiies, and a better than average making of featurette which contains film clips, behind-the-scenes footage, a look at the make-up work and the shooting locations, cast/crew interviews, and much more.

Summary: “23:59” isn’t going to be considered a horror classic anytime in the future, but it’s worth a watch if you’re looking for an admirable non-mainstream horror flick.

September 13, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review |

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