Missing 失蹤 (2019) Review

First-time feature director Ronnie Chau offers a refreshing change of pace in what could have been a typical Hong Kong horror thriller in Missing <失蹤>.

That change of pace in question is the added theme of alternate realities, which involved the mysterious disappearance of a police officer (Ko Hon-Man) during his morning hiking trip in the forest trails of Sai Kung. His daughter, social worker Ying (Gillian Chung) still believe he’s still alive, even after seven years since his disappearance.

But there’s a glimmer of hope when her father’s colleague Nam (JJ Jia) told Ying about the police badge discovered by Yin (Joey Leung), the owner of a hiking equipment store. From there, Ying learns about her father’s disappearance has something to do with an urban myth occurred in the Sai Kung forest. This eventually led Ying along with Nam and Yin to find out the truth.

Those who are expecting jump scares may want to look elsewhere since Missing <失蹤> is more of a psychological horror-thriller that relies more on atmosphere than gore and visceral shocks. And for that, Chau does a good job for maintaining an eerie sense of dread and mystery for most parts of the movie.

It also helps that the cast elevates the movie, thanks to their above-average performances. It has been a long while since I last saw Gillian Chung led a movie, where she brings enough maturity to her grief-stricken role of a daughter who refused to give up on her father’s disappearance.

JJ Jia delivers solid support as Nam while both screen veterans Candice Yu and Josephine Koo acquit themselves well enough in their respective roles as Ying’s estranged mother and Ying’s elderly neighbour suffering from dementia. Joey Leung, in the meantime, tends to overact in his eccentric role as Yin and so does Ling Man-Lung, who plays the emotionally-disturbed and burned-out son of Ying’s aforementioned neighbour.

Story-wise — credited to Ronnie Chau and Pang Chi-Hoi — in which they adapted from the 2016 popular internet novel, the movie prefers a deliberate but mostly effective set-up related to the alternate realities that take place in the Sai Kung forest. It’s far from a great horror film but remains a promising start for Ronnie Chau.

THREE-stars

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