From Hong Kong, an “homage” to THE SIXTH SENSE that boasts a slick veneer, fine
performances and some memorable shocks. It’s far from great, but you could
certainly do worse.
In addition to THE SIXTH SENSE, from which this film borrows its overall
premise and title, the most prominent influences on 2002’s INNER SENSES (YEE DO
HUNG GAAN) are recent Japanese horror films like
RINGU and KAIRO, along with THE
EYE from South Korea. This film represents a concerted effort, in other words,
to move away from the slapdash aesthetic of most Hong Kong movies to the more
sleek and thoughtful genre fare from Japan and Korea. Many commentators claim
Hong Kong cinema is dead, and this film, although it’s reasonably effective,
doesn’t do a lot to contradict that view.
Sadly, INNER SENSES marked the final film appearance of Hong Kong superstar
Leslie Cheung (headliner of HK classics like A BETTER TOMORROW, A CHINESE GHOST
STORY, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR and ASHES OF TIME), who took his own life on
April 1, 2003. The plot of INNER SENSES, involving a ghost who tries to force
Cheung’s character to jump off the roof of a building, has some decidedly
unnerving parallels to Cheung’s real life suicide, which happened to involve a
jump from a tall building...
Yan, a young woman, has just moved into a creepy apartment building where
she sees ghosts...or does she? She visits Jim, a shrink with buried issues of
his own. He tries hard to convince Yan that ghosts don’t exist and her
sightings are a mental aberration brought on by a difficult childhood. Jim’s
suspicions gain credence when he stumbles upon a freaky dude who lives
downstairs from Yan, where said freak has been making suspicious noises. Jim
also arranges a meeting between Yan and her parents, where she at last gets the
opportunity to confront them about her childhood traumas and is thus “cured” of
The problem is that now Jim has begun seeing ghosts, in particular that of
an old girlfriend who killed herself after he dumped her. He suspects Yan, with
whom he’s become romantically involved, is driving him crazy, but his old GF’s
ghostly visitations seem disturbingly real, so much so that he takes to
following her where she beckons, which inevitably leads to the top of a tall
Director Chi-Leung Law tries hard to create a quietly unnerving atmosphere,
and on occasion succeeds admirably. A scene in a swimming pool, with Jim’s
deceased lover beckoning to him from the bottom, is particularly effective, as
is a bit where Yan sees a family of ghosts appear behind her on an internet
cam. There are times, though, when the proceedings degenerate into traditional
Hong Kong movie cheese, in particular the LAME music video interludes
illustrating Yan and Jim’s burgeoning relationship.
Stylistically, INNER SENSES is mighty similar to RINGU, KAIRO, et al.
The ghostly visitations are nearly identical to those of THE EYE, while the
abovementioned internet scare is right out of RINGU. Perhaps it’s this reason
that the film, undeniably well made though it is, ultimately didn’t do much for
me; I recommend it, but would strongly advise viewing those other films first.
INNER SENSES (YEE DO HUNG GAAN)
Tai Seng Entertainment/Filmco Pictures
Director: Lo Chi Leung
Cast: Leslie Cheung, Karena Lam, Waise Lee, Valerie Chow, Norman Tsui, Maggie