(a.k.a. THE EYE 10; GIN GWAI 10)

Picture the scene: several Buddhist monks sit in a circle in their small temple, chanting prayers under the light of flame torches. In the middle of the circle a girl lies sleeping on a rug. The girl starts to fret, presumably suffering a nightmare. This makes the monks anxious and their prayers become louder. When the girl begins to levitate, the monks freak out - but stay put, allowing her to grow an enormous tongue and slap each one in the face with it.

It's a startling opening, which is enjoyable enough although admittedly it has no consequence whatsoever on the ensuing story.

An exceedingly dodgy titles sequence follows, looking like the opening for an episode of SAVED BY THE BELL. But then we waste no time in getting to the central plot ...

Four young friends - Ted (Bo-lin Chen), Kofei (Yu Gu), May (Kate Yeung) and April (Isabella Leong) - travel by bus from Hong Kong to Thailand to visit their mate Chongkwai. When they eventually land at his place, they gather round a table with a few drinks and some dried squid, and begin sharing ghost stories.

Chongkwai listens to his friends' tales (which are brought to life in vivid Argentoesque colours) but is unimpressed. Pulling out a book from his bookshelf, he tells the group he bought this old tome from a mysterious store one night - and believes it gives instructions on the 10 ways, according to Thai legend, that it is possible to see a ghost.

May encourages the group to try out the 10 methods as a way of passing the time until midnight.

Method 1 involves sitting around an Ouija board and summoning spirits. Just as something appears to be happening, Chongkwai's mother disrupts the fun by barging in on her way to bed.

Undeterred, the kids move on to method 2: Late Dinner Alert. Which essentially finds the quintet sat in the street clattering chopsticks against empty bowls, inviting ghosts for a supper. Alarmingly, the spirits do make an appearance - to all but May.

While the others flee and are understandably shaken by the experience, May feels she has lost out - so demands the group proceed with the next method. A creepy game of Hide-And-Seek ensues in the woods, resulting in the disappearance of Kofei.

The morning after (and after a bizarre incident involving April and a handful of graveyard soil), May and Ted decide to flee back to Hong Kong by taxi.

From hereon in the film follows Ted, May and Chongkwai separately as they encounter ghostly visions and gradually realise the extent of the consequences attached to fooling around with the dead.

The film begins with a simple yet interesting premise and enjoys a solid first half of pacy storytelling and reasonable frights. But the second half is weak, evolving into a succession of increasingly surreal set-pieces.

Typically of the Pang brothers (THE EYE; BANGKOK DANGEROUS), INIFINITY is guilty of that old classic - style over substance. Strip away the energetic camera work, MTV-style editing, variable CGI and techno score, and there's not much else going on.

The Pangs are simply the most over-stylised, fussy and needlessly flashy filmmakers working in Asia today. It's a shame, because the idea behind this film is simple yet brilliant - but the execution is far too busy for it's own good. Stop reminding us that this is a film! We want to get immersed in the atmosphere, not constantly reminded of the undoubted technical expertise of its directors.

Anyway, aside from the annoying gimmickry, INFINITY is an enjoyable if trite romp (disregarding the painful attempts at comedy) with moments of genuine eeriness and some inventive FX work. Performances are adequate, while the editing keeps things brisk - until it all peters out in the final act.

The film is presented in anamorphic 1.78:1. It looks superb - another sharp, colourful and clear transfer from Tartan. Audio is available in the original Cantonese language, in choices of 2.0 stereo, 5.1 and 5.1 DTS. As would be expected, all are magnificent - the 5.1 mix in particular adds a great deal of impact to the action. English subtitles are optional.

Extras include a so-so 13-minute Making Of featurette, with the usual fluff of actors discussing their character's motivations. It gets better towards the end with behind-the-scenes footage and a little insight into how the FX were developed.

The original theatrical trailer makes an appearance with forced English subtitles.

Finally, there are trailers for each instalment of the brilliant Vengeance trilogy - SYMPATHY FOR MR VENGEANCE, OLDBOY and LADY VENGEANCE.

Too gimmicky and comedy-orientated for it's own good, THE EYE ... INFINITY nevertheless has some enjoyable set-pieces, the odd moment of spookiness and enough weirdness to keep the average Asian Horror fan happy.

Fans of the Pang brothers can rejoice - this is typical fare from them (although slightly diluted, granted). If you find their work annoying, then sorry ... this is the same old.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Tartan Asia Extreme
Region All PAL
Rated 18
Extras : see main review