Naraka 19

Hong Kong, 2007
Original title: Dei yuk dai sup gau tsang

Director: Miu-suet Lai
Starring: Gillian Chung, Vincy Chan, Shaun Tam, Maggie Lee, Charlene Choi
IMDB: 4.4

Naraka 19 is a fantasy horror movie with an interesting concept involving the 18 levels of Hell from Chinese mythology. A group of young women rooming together in a university dorm where a student killed himself find themselves embroiled in a game to find out what's at the 19th level of Hell. Instructions are sent to them via cellphone, and each level requires them to be pure in order to progress to the next level. If not, they go mad or die.

After seeing a few of her friends commit suicide, Rain (Gillian Chung) decides to find out what's at Level 19, with the help of Inspector Yip (Shaun Tam) who is investigating the deaths.

This requires her to progress through the levels of hell, and these are the best parts of the movie. One level is raining knives, and another is a deep well with arms poking out through holes in the wall. These scenes are quite surreal and impressive. At other times Rain has hallucinations which are both visual and aural, and add a trippy atmosphere to proceedings.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie wrapped around these scenes is fairly mundane, and the story as a whole is fairly unbelievable. Gillian Chung is quite easy on the eye, but is bland and most of the time looks like she's in a cellphone commercial. The overall inconsistency in quality turns what could have been a great horror movie into an only slightly better than average one. If only they could've spent more time in hell !

Rating: 5/10


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