MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:18 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ted Chan, Stella Chung, Philip Hersh, Henley Hill, Susan Leong
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Released On: June 4, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Nope, it’s horror-ish.
Date Movie: Only if she wants to be bored for an hour, and then finally creeped out.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope, it’s not your American horror film.
Gratuitous Violence: Some gross scenes mostly, and leftover people hanging.
Action: It tries to be creepy.
Laughs: The fight scene between the recruits.
Memorable Scene: I did like when we finally see the deformed child.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stands out.
Directed By: Gilbert Chan
Cool Things About the DVD: Nothing special but it does have a “Making of” featurette.

Sometimes I should read an entire press release before getting a movie to review, and at first when I started watching “23:59” I thought I would be frustrated because the movie started with subtitles while the folks on the screen were speaking in Mandarin, and I was not in the mood to “read” a movie. Then, I read the release and low and behold, “23:59” features an English dub, along with original Mandarin, English, and Spanish subtitles.” Sweet, watching a movie just like the old “Godzilla” films! A setting change here, and I was set for some creepy, horror, goodness.

Or so I thought.

Let’s start with the basics of the movie…

“23:59” says it’s based on a true story, and maybe some of the aspects of it are true, but really it’s based upon any story of people at any camp, whether it be a camp for kids, a day camp sleepover, camping in the wilderness, or in this case, a group of army recruits at military camp on a “haunted” island. Why based on any story at camp, do I say? Because every camp has a creepy story, a legend if you will, that is intended to scare the campers to be wary of falling asleep and wonder if that bump you hear in the night is the ghost of the creepy lady who wants to kill you.

This movie, however, expands on the story aspect and makes the legend true, with the legend based around a deformed child, a demented old woman, and a recruit being found dead at, yup, 23:59 (that’s one minute before midnight for you non-military time people). Then weirder things start happening like possessed recruits, creepy noises, mysterious scratches, and seeming scariness, only it isn’t really that scary as the acting is pretty lousy and ruins a lot of the horror aspect (I reference a scene with some of the worst “fighting” between recruits, and sure, some of the anger may have been lost in the English translation, but the swings being thrown were closer to a cat-fight between girls rather than military dudes trying to beat the crap out of each other).

As the movie plods along you get the proverbial scene of the military officers knowing what might be going on, then the non-proverbial scene of calling in a medium to find out if the dead are possessing the living, the recruits going on a hike during the middle of the night even though the officers know this might not be a good idea, what with creepy woman being around, and a recruit whose father used to “talk” to the dead.

So, yea, what I’m saying is that as I’m watching the movie I’m pretty bored, actually chuckle at times, and was all set to give the movie one, maybe one and half stars, for being a pretty bad horror movie.

Then, finally, the story came together, and uber-creepiness, actually sending some chills up my spine, came around when we finally were introduced to the deformed child, and some enhanced demented old woman goodness. I don’t know why I was actually creeped out, but it would have helped, I suppose, by focusing the movie a little more on the deformed child story, rather than the generic, “horror” things happening at camp aspect.

The movie was a lot of set-up and bad horror flicking until the climactic scene, which for me is the only thing that saved it, so as hard as it might be to stick with the first hour of the movie, stick around for the last 18 minutes (Yup, it’s only 78 minutes long), and you might find the creepiness you were hoping for. With that, I’ll add one star to my original thought of a rating and give “23:59” 2 ½ stars out of 5. Laugh at the bad acting, and maybe get some spine-tingly goodness at the end.

On the DVD there is a “Making Of” feature that is okay, and is a nice look at how the movie came together, but in the end it just goes along with the rest of my thought of the movie missing out on the main aspect of the film – the creepy woman and the deformed kid.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!