72. Re-Cycle (2006) [Rated R for frightening and disturbing images.]
summary from imdb.com:
After writing three best-sellers about love story based on her own experiences, the successful writer Tsui Ting-Yin is without inspiration and having difficulties to write her new novel in the horror genre entitled “Re-cycle”. While drafting the text, spooky events happen at her apartment and her former boy-friend of eight years ago visits her, after his divorce, proposing Tsui. When Tsui sees a supernatural long-haired character of her book, she follows him and is trapped in his world of terror. But she is saved by the young Ting-yu, who discloses a secret about her to Tsui.
directed by: The Pang Brothers
Lawrence Chou: I got a divorce.
Angelica Lee: I know. Sandy told me.
Chou: Ting-Yin. I think we should…
Lee: Stop saying, “I think.” You should have done this eight years ago. Now it’s too late.
Chou: Yes, you’re right. I did contemplate a divorce eight years ago.
Chou: Eight years ago, I was ready to divorce Xu Fen. But she suddenly told me she was pregnant. As a result…
Lee: You didn’t want to hurt her, so you didn’t say a thing, right?
Chou: Yes, that was the only reason.
Angelica Lee: Sir, could you tell me? What is this place?
Siu-Ming Lau: Try to recall. How did you get here?
Lee: I went down. Everything looked different. In the elevator, I saw an old woman and a kid. Then… Then… I don’t remember.
Lau: This place is not for you.
Lee: But why are you here? […]
Lau: This is a dimension for the abandoned. All discarded creations end up in this domain. And they may vanish any minute. Everything is cyclical. We are here because we have been abandoned.
Angelica Lee: Who exactly are you?
Yaqi Zeng: Who am I? I don’t know. We have no names.
Lee: What is this place? Why are there so many broken things?
Zeng: This is a forgotten world for the abandoned.
Lee: The abandoned?
Zeng: Yes, everything you discard ends up here. Even thoughts and unfulfilled promises. They all end up here.
Lee: So the spiritual world I was writing about really exists?
Zeng: Look! Don’t you remember? You threw away many old toys when you were a kid. All of them can be found here. Now you know what it means to be abandoned. You can’t stay here. You must return to your dimension.
Angelica Lee: What are you talking about? Who are you?
Yaqi Zeng: Mommy.
Lee: What did you call me?
[flashback scene:] Angelica Lee: Had I waited for you, I would have wasted eight years of my life.
Lawrence ChoU: Ting-Yin.
Lee: Eight years ago, I was pregnant, too. I don’t want to hear your excuses. Don’t worry. I had an abortion. Do you know how hard the decision was? Please. Don’t contact me anymore.[end of flashback]
Yaqi Zeng: When I first came here, I was very angry with you. I asked the old man why mommy didn’t want me. The old man said everyone had things they wanted to forget. You didn’t mean to abandon me, did you, Mommy? Remember where the aborted fetuses live? I grew up there, too. It was a scary place. Now you know how scared I was, right?
Angelica Lee: Ting-yu. It’s not that Mommy didn’t want you. Mommy was… I’m so sorry. Mommy was… […] Why can’t you leave with Mommy? Come with me.
Zeng: You want me to be with you? I could have been with you. But you abandoned me. You gave up the opportunity.
When Tsui Ting-Yin does make it to the “world of re-cycle” the film does pick up, the darkness of the image is an issue, but some of the scenes are brilliant. And while I am not convinced the effects are always as good as you think they are, the idea’s visualised by them are excellent. With being stuck in a weird tunnel of unborn foetus’ being a personal highlight, especially the attack of the giant foetus which has to make any film worth watching, along with the “I accidentally trod on a living foetus” incident.
And then there is the twist ending [PLOT SPOILERS]. Here the Pang Brothers reveal themselves to be conducting something like a Right to Life commercial where it is revealed that Yaqi Zeng, the young girl in red that accompanies Lee Sinje throughout her journey, is in fact the child that she conceived but aborted. Suitable guilt and anguish ensues on Lee Sinje’s part. As with The Eye 2, this shows that the Pang Brothers, both of whom have demonstrated Buddhist sympathies elsewhere, are strongly pro-life in their views.
Pregnancy also plays a big role in both films, suggesting that the only cure for a failed affair is to sublimate romantic yearnings into the traditional female role of Motherhood. This is not quite an admonishment that women should stay home and have babies, but there seems to be no doubt that Ting-Yin would have been much happier – or at least less guilt ridden – if she had seen her pregnancy through.
As a thematic statement, this is more appropriate for a Republican political convention than a film exploring the overlap of reality and imagination. To be fair, the title is “Re-cycle,” and the story is at least partly about being confronted by ideas and actions that were discarded on the way toward reaching one’s destination – especially if that destination was not the one originally intended. But even on these terms, the message is ridiculous, suggesting that we should feel guilty for every discarded item in our lives. Apparently, the only happy people are pack rats who horde every piece of junk they ever owned. Who knew that clutter was the path to enlightened joy?
from a user review at amazon.com:
This has got to be one of the coolest “scary” movies around. It has a very strong pro-life, pro-elderly message, something that is being forgotten today in our world.
I also thought the pro-life stance of the film was very oft putting. Quite frankly I was offended – truly not what I was expecting – worst blind buy purchase…evar.
part of a review from “I Watch Horror Movies”:
But then, suddenly the film switches gears. It was weird that the tone switched so quickly, because I was expecting a horror film all the way through, but for the most part, “Re-Cycle” is a fantasy, almost a fairy tale for adults, like “Pan’s Labyrinth”. The author is transported to some other world, which is soon revealed to be the place that everything that has been abandoned goes. Interesting premise, and it’s pretty well executed, because of its great and memorable visuals. Among them is a cave of aborted babies, which is pretty creepy.
Speaking of caves of aborted babies, the film has a very prominent anti-abortion message.
The main character has a little girl helping her through the entire movie, and at the end, it’s revealed that the little girl is actually her baby she aborted eight years ago. The protagonist begs and begs for the little girl to come with her back to Earth, to which the girl responds “you had your chance to live with me.” Boom. Schooled.
I’m definitely not one of those crazy “Choose life or I’ll kill you” people, but the movie actually did make an alright anti-abortion case that makes you think about your stand on abortion. And even if you are pro-choice all the way, it doesn’t make the cave of aborted babies any less awesome.
part of a user review:
Some viewers may find the ending difficult or exploitive, as it deals with the emotional effects of an abortion Tsui had years before. I think this will depend on each individual’s perspective, and those that are uncomfortable with this theme may want to pass on the movie. Personally, while I tend to agree with the overall message that abortion may have far-reaching consequences, I’m not sure this is the venue for that argument. Additionally, the scenes are quite emotional, which could be painful for some viewers.