Bryan and I love horror movies. We've seen all the classics- Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and more. And we've spent countless hours watching awful, second-rate (third-rate? fourth?) movies such as Raging Sharks and Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep (starring Cory Monteith of Glee, back in the days before anyone knew his name). When we watch those movies, we typically end up doubled over in laughter, making fun of horrible special effects and bad dialogue. Anyway, we were pretty enthused when we heard that a Singaporean horror movie was coming out in theaters. So, on the opening weekend of Haunted Changi, we joined the crowds of moviegoers to see it.
The movie follows a group of documentary filmmakers exploring the history of the now abandoned Old Changi Hospital on the east side of the island. OCH, as it's referred to locally, has quite a history, most notably serving as a headquarters for the Japanese during their occupation of Singapore during WWII.
Overall, I liked the movie. It's always fun to watch a movie that was filmed in Singapore- the country's so small that it's like watching a movie that was filmed entirely in your hometown. Every few minutes you think to yourself "Hey! I know where that is!" or "I wonder if I've ever ridden in that taxi..." Plus the majority of the movie took place in Old Changi Hospital, and seeing how much I love abandoned buildings, I really appreciated that aspect of it. Some of the shots the crew took of the place were positively haunting. I think my favorite part of the movie was the trailer of the movie that the film crew showed within the movie- in their in-movie trailer, they had gritty, old war footage overlaid on top of more recent footage of the abandoned hospital. It turned out pretty cool.
I wasn't crazy about the overall way the movie was shot. The movie utilized that amateur, handheld filming technique popularized by movies like The Blair Witch Project and Quarantine. After awhile, all the jostling of the camera and focusing and unfocusing has me feeling like I'm going to ralph popcorn all over the people in the next row. And sometimes the movie dragged a little bit. Even though it was only an hour and 20 minutes, it seemed that in some places the plot wasn't really progressing.
All in all, the movie was pretty good. It had a few decent scares (I admit digging my fingernails into Bryan's palm on more than one occasion), plus all the appeal of taking place in Singapore, with a true-blue Singlish-speaking cast. It definitely made for a good night out!
Also, if you loved Haunted Changi or if you dig abandoned buildings, check this out. A photographer who shares my love of all things abandoned took some great photos of Old Changi Hospital and posted them online. They're wonderful!