Shadows starts in a distressed apartment where a brutal murder of a family has just taken place. The only person alive at the crime scene, appears to have committed the crime. We see him waiting for the police to appear before jumping out of a window. We learn that the suspect is a social worker who may or may not have been fully-aware of the crime he has committed

Brought onto the case is Ching (Stephy Tang), a forensic psychiatrist who has a gift to see inside the subconscious mind of those she interrogates and find out how each crime was committed. Working with her is Officer Ho (Philip Keung), who is unsure if the case is as straightforward as it seems. Ching immediately suspects that there most be more going on and agrees to help the investigation. Ching is played by Stephy Tang (The Empty Hands) and is convincing as the troubled, yet dedicated psychiatrist who also has to confront some demons from her own past.

This film is unlike most Hong Kong thrillers I have seen, although I always usually tend to enjoy them. I feel that they do not always translate well to an international audience mainly due to the lack of character development and depth in plot. There a few unlikely coincidences appearing in the film, a common attribute Hong Kong cinema but it is not as extreme as in previous thrillers such as Dante Lam’s 2008 thriller, Beast Stalker (which also starred Fillip Keung). The suspense is intriguing enough to keep viewers guessing and I am certain that the twist is not obvious to all viewers.  The atmospheric, visual style of the film is similar at times to David Fincher’s Seven, especially in the opening and then borrows elements of Tarsem Singh’s The Cell when we see Ching placing herself in the mind of those she is questioning.

Shadows is an interesting take on the psychological thriller genre, and especially for a Hong Kong production. Directed by Glenn Chan, whose resume mainly consists of many Singapore tv series and a few films, Chan shows that he able to make a film that is both intriguing and full of twists. I look forward to seeing more film from both Chan and Stephy Tang.

Get tickets now from The Chinese Visual Film Festival for Shadows and more here

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