Bring Back the Dead – Singapore, 2015 – reviews

Bring Back the Dead is a 2015 Singaporean supernatural horror feature film written and directed by Thean-jeen Lee. The Weiyu Films production stars Jesseca Liu, Ling Ling Liu, Wei-wen Chiang and Shawn Tan.

Plot:

When her seven-year-old son dies in a tragic road accident, a grieving mother (Jesseca Liu), with the help of her former caregiver Madam Seetoh (Liu Ling Ling), resorts to supernatural forces to bring back his soul so he can be ‘by her side’ at home.

However, after several strange and deadly occurrences in the house, she begins to suspect that there is something amiss with the soul she has brought back. In discovering what has really happened, she unravels the horrific truth – a truth which may cost her her life and the lives of those around her…

Reviews [may contain spoilers]:

” …the story logic is impeccable and devastating. Lee does not go for cheap scares, instead he builds tension with quiet moments and assured pacing. He wants to fill audiences with dread of a malevolent spirit, but he also wants them to be emotionally invested in the story.” The Straits Times

“more of a film about a mother’s obsession for her deceased child than a true horror film […] it was not very scary. I mean, I wouldn’t be afraid of a spirit which belong to someone close to me. The really scary part came in at the last one-third or last quarter of the film where Jia En realised that the spirit might not be her child… Tiffany Yong

Cast and characters:

  • Jesseca Liu … Jia En
  • Ling Ling Liu … Seetoh-jie
  • Wei-wen Chiang … De Wei
  • Shawn Tan … XiaoLe
  • Timothy Law … Tam
  • XueTing Tjoa … Anna
  • Lizzie.V. … Office Executive
  • Alan Yeo

Production:

Director Thean-jeen Lee said casting for the film was difficult, as he had trouble finding an actress in her thirties who was both comfortable with horror and playing a mother. Jesseca Liu, who was cast as the mother, said the role was her “most challenging to date”, as she had to play a range of emotions without having been a mother. To prepare for the emotional scenes, she thought about the loss of her cats. Liu cited a scene in which a disembodied hand fondles her as the most difficult in the film. After discussing it with Lee, he agreed to make it less intimate, and it was rewritten to involving kissing instead.

Related:

The Monkey’s Paw – short story

Pet Sematary (1989)

Singaporean horror

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