DIRECTOR Tony Kern WRITER Tony Kern STARS Sheena Chan; Pamelyn Chee; Daniel Jenkins RELEASE TBC
While the horror anthology is nothing new, Afterimages presents an excellent concept; basing itself on Asia’s Hungry Ghost Festival, whereby gifts are burned as offerings to the spirit world, here a group of students burn effigies of cameras and receive films in return. These make up the film’s vignettes, further playing on Asian mythologies including Bomoh needles for youth and the Chinese gui la jiao. As such, the film serves as a neat, interesting introduction to the continent’s folklore that allows director-writer Tony Kern some playing with storytelling techniques. Spooky stories aside, the wraparound film is an affectionate look at obsolete formats and social media / technology, and includes some unexpected debates on ownership and public domain.
A low budget hampers proceedings somewhat, particularly regards effects, however there is some effective, ghostly imagery, and also a palpable tension in the final act as our hapless students—naturally, the first story had warned of the importance to respect beliefs—meet their fate. Closing with a hint at possible Ringu-style sequels, the film leaves things open for further exploration. Overall, Afterimages is flawed but promising, with a fast pace that keeps interest piqued.