When novelist Ting-Yin (played by Angelica Lee, The Eye) decides to delve into the supernatural for her next book, she opens a door to another realm. The world she is transported to is the home of the ideas, objects, places, and people that we have abandoned.
As the movie opens Ting-Yin is struggling with the writing of her latest novel, Re-Cycle. At a press conference where the book is announced, she is asked if she has ever seen a ghost. She answers that she hasn’t and that even though she is afraid, she still wants that experience. She wants to feel “terror that wells up from the heart.”
As she writes, the boundaries between art and life break down. She has paranormal experiences that inspire her writing and also her writing seems to come to life. The Pang brothers are masters of using everyday things to inspire dread. One example of this is when Ting-Yin comes home to find long strands of black hair by her kitchen sink – strands that couldn’t possibly from her short locks and seem to fit a character she had begun writing about and then abandoned. The fright at knowing a stranger has been in her home is palpable.
After a few experiences in the real world, Ting-Yin crosses over completely into the realm of the abandoned. Danny and Oxide Pang create a breathtaking visual world that is both filled with horrors and aching beauty. Indeed, the brothers are as talented at making the audience scream out loud in fright as they are at breaking their hearts. And they never fail to deliver a movie that has as much soul as it has eye-candy.
Thrown into this strange world, Ting-Yin seeks the assistance of the few kindly people she finds. She is told she cannot stay in the realm for the abandoned and she affirms she wants to return to her realm but doesn’t know how. She is told that she needs to journey to a place called The Transit and that it wouldn’t be possible for to reach this place alone. A young girl she comes to call Ting-Yu leads her through the various frightening and beautiful obstacles. The relationship between the two actresses is natural and very touching. It is the love between the two that leads Ting-Yin back to herself and to her realm.
The idea of a realm for the abandoned is fascinating. As Ting-Yu says, everyone has things they want to forget. But in making the choice to abandon something, we are also making the choice to abandon all of the potential that may exist in that piece of art, that relationship, or whatever it maybe.
With Re-Cycle Danny and Oxide Pang weave a haunting reminder of the responsibility and power of creativity in all of its forms and the importance of respecting our past and our ancestors.
Video Vamp Rating: 4 Roses