The Park (2003) – By Brian Morton

Have you ever heard of a movie and heard how good it is until you’re sure that it’s probably the worst movie you’ll ever see, only because no movie could live up to the hype? Well, this almost happened to me, except the movie lived up to the hype!

The movie, The Park. I’ve read about it for a couple of years now, and thanks to the good fortune of stumbling across a video store that actually rents movies that are hard to find, instead of the ‘new release’ nightmare that most video stores have become! The Park is a Chinese horror movie, which in and of itself makes it different from the stuff that’s being shoved at us here, but this is a movie that, despite the cultural differences, still plays very well. The Park is the story of Yan and Yan’s problem is that her brother has gone missing. The only clue that they have is that the last place he was seen was near an abandoned amusement park. Well, Yan gathers her friends and off they go to investigate the haunted amusement park. Sounds like a familiar scenario? Well, it seems that way too, but there’s a twist here that I thoroughly enjoyed.

You see, being that this is a Chinese film, the roots of the culture are different from ours. The Park is rooted in Buddhism, which is interesting only because the way to get rid of spirits is to use a camera with a special lens, which takes the place of your third eye, and capture the spirit on film, then you can burn the picture and send the spirit off to it’s reincarnation cycle. So what seems to begin as your typical teen haunted amusement park slasher flick, turns into something a little deeper.

The Park is hard to find, but it’s worth the hunt. The only real problem I had with this is that parts of it are in 3D, which means that you have included with your disc a pair of those crappy red and blue paper glasses, and it really doesn’t add anything to the movie, in fact, only parts of the movie is in 3D and there’s a little icon that appears in the corner of the screen to tell you to put on the uncomfortable glasses. But the ending, when Yan, the sole survivor of the evil spirit attacks, has to capture her dead friends on film to release their souls to the reincarnation cycle, it sounds a bit trite, but it’s strangely touching. It’s called The Park and I recommend it highly, so until the next time please remember that when you take someone’s picture you may just be stealing their soul, and that the best movies are bad movies.