THE LINGERING is the first time feature for directors Ho Pong Mak and Derrick Taoby, which focuses on bringing a ghost story to life that follows one son who aims to figure out why the ghost that haunted his family home still remains. The film stars Athena Chu (A Chinese Odyssey, The Conman), Louis Cheung (Keeper of Darkness, Ip Man 3), Bob Chang (“House of Spirits”, “Come on, Cousin”), Terry Zou (Hardcore Comedy, PG Love), Lee Fung (Big Brother, “Let It Be Love”), Wei Lai, and Yao Tong.
The film follows Dawa and his mother Qingyi on New Year’s Eve, where they are waiting for her husband to show up from work. As the night passes on, Dawa keeps seeing a stranger that his mother cannot see and his mother slowly realizes that her husband is not coming home. Qingyi goes out in search of her husband back in the heart of their village while Dawa spends time at a neighbor’s home. When she returns, the terror begins as she too can see the mysterious stranger that Dawa had seen before. It is then that both of them spend the night alone trapped in their basement with the hope that they will survive the night as this strange presence wants nothing more than to torment them.
The second half of the film deals with a now-adult Dawa who is forced to return back home to the village of his childhood after receiving the news of his mother’s death. It is then that we start learning more about how much his mother had wanted him to return home, but resistance was held in place by Dawa. As he returns back to the village to face the full weight of grief now dealing with his mother’s death, Dawa soon realizes that the strange presence that had tormented them so many years ago has never left.
THE LINGERING is a horror film that has so much potential, as seen based on initial viewings of the trailer, but is ultimately dragged down by confusing plot points. There are multiple plot points and scenes that get introduced, but with little to no mention of them later on. While some viewers may not mind the confusing inclusion of certain scenes, I did not. As a matter of personal preference, if scenes are to be included in a story, there needs to be a reason and some sort of payoff or else it just takes away from the overall product. These instances overly complicate a story that could have stood alone in its simplicity and its exploration of the dynamic between a mother and her son.
If one is looking specifically for what this particular Blu-ray has to offer in terms of extra content, there’s not too much in terms of offerings. There’s a making-of featurette that dives deep into how the creative team tackled bringing the film to life. This featurette includes interviews and the like that provide interesting tidbits for viewers who are more interested in what happens in production. Other than that, there isn’t too much included on the Blu-ray, which may be a deterrent for some viewers.
Overall, THE LINGERING does contain a ghost story and there are promising parts of the story that work. We get to see the exploration between Dawa and his mother, starting from an early age up until he receives devastating news as an adult concerning his mother. However, the different side plots that happen later on in the story do make the movie come across as confusing and may leave some viewers frustrated. If you are a fan of East Asian horror films and can look past what I mentioned previously concerning scene payoff, then this may be the film to add to your shelf.
THE LINGERING is now available on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD, and Digital through Well Go USA Entertainment. Just in time for the Halloween season!