By SentaiSeiya on July 26, 2013

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Welcome to another SentaiSeiya Live Action Movie(SLAM) review


23:59 takes place on a jungle island that serves as a training camp for the young soldiers of Malaysia. The film opens by revealing several ghost stories that surround the island and dark minute right before midnight. According to the local lore, if you die at 23:59 (11:59 PM) your ghost will forever haunt the island.


After the exposition, the cadets experience some eerie occurrences. The one most affected is Tan, who not only has to deal with a ghostly encounter he had on the island, but also the taunting and bullying of a couple cadets that cannot stand his cowardice.  

About halfway through the movie, after the cadets have had several close encounters of the ghostly kind, the cadets need to embark on a road march across the jungle in order to complete their military training. At this point, you know shit is going to hit the fan because Sergeant Kuah, the man in charge of all these young men, tries to plead with Captain Hong to either change the route of the road march or postpone it altogether.


But that doesn’t happen and it sets off a series of events that while not scary, do end up revealing some of the dark history of island and also why Tan is being pursued by the female specter he is so afraid of.


The ending of the movie was mixed bag. The focus shifts to Tan’s friend Jeremy, who is not a believer of the supernatural. However, he is forced to confront the entities that haunt the island.  This is done in a very unoriginal manner that borrows from two very prominent horror movies, one Western and one American. In the order to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, I am not going to mention the titles of those movies, because they are so iconic that just the mention of their names may be a spoiler.

So while the climax of the story left quite a bit to be desired, the final scene in the movie was actually quite interesting. It hints at Jeremy’s change of view towards ghosts, in a somewhat touching manner.

The acting was okay and a couple of the characters have a decent amount of development, namely Jeremy and Sergeant Kuah.


One thing I want to point out about this movie is that part of it is in English. Many of Sergeant Kuah’s line are delivered in English, which lessens the need to read the subtitles.  This aspect of the movie didn’t really ad or detract to the movie, it was just kind of there for me.

So this movie does a fairly good job of creating a world where the viewer feels like they are part of this isolated platoon of young soldiers. And then it wastes the set-up by giving the viewer something they have probably already seen.  It also never really solidifies the fact that 23:59 is a scary time of the day. Sure, scary shit happens at night, but the association between the paranormal events and the minute before midnight is never really cemented.

I can’t recommend this movie to somebody looking for a good, fresh Asian horror flick because it is passable at best. However, you may end up enjoying the movie more if you secluded yourself in your room, SLAM the door shut and turn of the lights.


And so my quest continues for a good Asian horror film that I have not already seen. Perhaps the fourth time will be the charm, because the third most certainly wasn’t.

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