Seventh Moon (2009)
Directed by Eduardo Sanchez
[This is a review I wrote for UGO.com hence the different format of the review.]
Believe it or not, this is the 2nd movie I’ve seen where a Caucasian American blonde is married to a Chinese American guy and has to deal with Chinese mythos gone awry (the first movie was They Wait). Well 2 movies counts as a subgenre right? It’s this new subgenre that Eduardo Sanchez, co-director of The Blair Witch Project has decided to make his 3rd film since the BWP made him a household name.
To sum up the very brief plot, Melissa (Amy Smart) and Yul (Tim Chiou) are a newly married couple who decide to take their honeymoon in China during the worst time….well ever. Because during the seventh lunar month according to an ancient Chinese myth, the gates of hell and the dead are freed to roam among the living. After a walking tour of a festival, their tour guide Ping abandons them in the middle of Nowhere, China. You’d think a country filled with a billion people would not have any nowheres. But you’d be wrong.
Soon they are chased by ghostlike creatures that have already attacked a few of the unsuspecting strangers who have ended up lost in this town. As they go searching for a place to hide it’s not too long until we find out why this is all happening to our American couple.
The first thing you notice is that Eduardo Sanchez hasn’t spared us from the shaky cam feel he developed from the Blair Witch Project. It’s ever evident within Seventh Moon as most of the film is eerily similar to the Blair Witch Project in many ways. We have a relationship going through the strainer through a supernatural ordeal. We also get lots and lots of chase scenes. The chases are handheld nauseous ness to the extreme but it works 30% of the time. The blurred out glimpses of our Descent like creatures add to the atmosphere of backwoods China under a starry night.
Sanchez also implements the “how are they going to escape this situation” scenarios as both Yul and Melissa have to escape from would be dead ends that would seem to lead to certain death. From a head lit runaway drive in desolate fields to an abandoned farmhouse to being trapped in a car as the creatures move in, all are tense moments filled with jump scare-o-thons and panic filled moments of suspense.
Both Chiou and Smart are decent would be victims, though a little back-story of the couple would have established some need for the audience to care about our newlyweds. Smart’s Melissa is a tough as nails final girl while her husband plays the dude in distress motif to the max. That little role reversal was a little neat. But between their dialogue of grit vs. give up, Smart whines and yells and actions are actually spoken (a big no no in film)
But Seventh Moon is a grind that you have to have the stomach to go through. The grind eventually ends up weak towards the end. As menacing as these ghost like human creatures are, they don’t have the evilest evil I would have thought we would get.
Also, the Chinese mythos is something inherent in Asian culture that somehow we American audiences cannot grasp. Thus, we don’t get scared easily by hordes of monster demons slaughtering animals and such. Finally, gorehounds won’t rejoice as there isn’t anything to write in the splatter wikia though the FX and makeup done by Hong Kong’s Spectral Motion are top notch.
Seventh Moon is a change of pace from your death knocking on your door or slasher slice-a-rama and it has some genuine moments of eerie spooky. But it’s no Blair Witch and unfortunately the comparisons are something we can’t overlook.
You'll like it if....
- You’ll watch any movie Amy Smart is in
- You love C-horror with a twist of American horror
- You love shaky cam and Blair Witch style cinema
- You get nauseous watching shaky cam
- You hate slow burn, jump scares and lots of running around
- Ghost creatures aren’t your bag
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