Twenty years ago, an inexplicable mass suicide occurred in the millionare Yang household, where the entire family hanged themselves at the exact same time. Only one member survived. To this day, the case remains unsovled. Now, a distant relative inherits the house and moves in with his fiancee. Mysterious events begin to disturb their lives and force them to confront the evil within. The demented legacy of the Yang family comes full circle and the curse left behind is reborn
GreenCine Exclusive Interview
"It's too early to start coining the term 'T-Horror,' but Taiwanese scarefest The Heirloom could kick-start a whole new subdivision of Asian psychodramas along with its established Japanese and South Korean cousins," wrote Derek Elley in Variety last fall. Jonathan Marlow talks with young director Leste Chen about his groundbreaking feature and his admiration for Kim Ji-woon and Iwai Shunji. Full article >>
The leads are pretty enough to look at and the cinematography is of a good standard, but apart from that there is very little to recommend this film. The plot is preposterous and there was not a single scary moment. The film fails both as drama and as horror.
I cross-referenced this film from another Asian horror flick here at GreenCine, and it came highly recommended. I had previously rented another similar film under the Tartan Extreme banner (the disappointing "Pray") and I tried to go into this film with an open mind. I'm sad to say the film was similarly disappointing.
The plot, about a young man's efforts to uncover details surrounding a curse on his family, and eventually to try and dispel the curse altogether, is serviceable. The actors are nice to look at, and they seem to fit their roles well. The set design is very nice; the creepy mansion where most of the film takes place looks real, akin to the hospital in "Session 9".
The movie just isn't scary at all.
When I watch a horror film, I expect to be scared, or at least unsettled. With "The Heirloom", I kept looking at the counter on my DVD player, wondering when the film would be over, or at least when it would get to the good stuff. There were many setups for "money shots" in the film, but none of them paid off.
If you watch this film, watch it as a drama. Seen that way, the lack of scares isn't really a drawback, and I would imagine the ending has a lot more emotional impact. As a horror film, though, "The Heirloom" utterly fails.
I wasn't expecting much going into this one but by the end, I was "at the edge of my seat," so to speak. There were a few loose ends that bothered me because they were never explained, but taken as a whole, I enjoyed the movie. The Chang family history had such an interesting story that Leste Chen (the director) could have made another movie entirely of that. Anyway, it is worth the hour and a half of your time. I wasn't disappointed.