[REVIEW] Ghost Stories Near Home (2022)


The Tale of Ghosts Near the House is a film of its kind that clearly demonstrates the creative will of the Vietnamese horror genre, despite dealing with logic errors and rhythm problems.

The story of Ghost Near Home revolves around a group of friends who reunite after 10 years. The apartment where they met suddenly loses power and a group of friends decide to tell a ghost story for atmosphere. The whole group of 5 gathered around the dining table and started their story. Like an urban legend, it all starts with the phrase “I heard from…”. From there, the film reenacts the ghost stories.

The Story of Ghost Near Home has a fairly straightforward script, while the story brought by the new characters has a twist. They all have different characters but are connected by director Huu Tan by placing them in the same period and geographic area. Of course the spooky theme here is also different.

The advantages of Ghost Story Near Home lie in the background and rendering, in addition to a pretty decent and serious script. Compared to The Mang Forest, Ghost Stories Near Home is more unified and focused. It focuses solely on the horror genre and tells a story in that direction – a significant improvement over the previous unfortunate journey of the amateur backpacker group. Pictures are not tables. It was a scene with a very wise investment. And the rendering is absolutely goosebumps. The ghosts that spread fear in this film are intricately constructed, from which the efforts of the filmmaking team can be felt. The soundtrack is also a commendable point in this film. It’s a very dark nostalgic song, perfect for The Tale of Ghosts Near Home – a horror film that recreates old Saigon in 9x, 8x generation memory.

This film is no exaggeration to say as the toughest horror film ever in Vietnamese cinema. The story of Ghost Near Home is bloody and full of flesh details that look inspired by the classic slasher genre. But more importantly, Ghost Story Near Home is quite creative when it comes to using ghost stories and famous events passed down by word of mouth across Vietnam as inspiration. As such, the film not only piques the interest of the generation of viewers who grew up with the legend, but also leverages existing linkages to pave the way for future developments. What a pity, however, that Ghost Story Near Home is full of holes in logic and ancient fears.

It has to be admitted that the cast of Ghost Story Near Home have done their best and they are quite insightful. Roles and durations are distributed fairly so that segments that demand emotion and introspection are given to veteran actors who are more experienced, and at the same time don’t waste young faces. Plus, The Tale of Ghosts Near Home doesn’t make the mistake that all Vietnamese film series make – the actors were too shy to play it. Here, the characters and actors all fit well with each other and with the setting. But a more difficult problem to ignore is scripting.

The story of Ghost Near the House has the spirit of script investment. That’s evidenced by the 3 stories that go pretty well, knowing clearly what points need to be withheld, filming without rushing to put them together. Basically, the film is just about a group of friends who sit down to tell a ghost story and accidentally encounter a ghost – a popular folk concept in many countries. This way, Ghost Stories Near Home will avoid the problem of holding on to things and not getting them right. Overall, the film looks good, with a beginning, a climax, and an ending. But the little story at the heart of the picture is not so smooth.

Ghost Near Home stories are also very smart when it comes to making use of the story elements of the story and the story that leads to the story. This movie actually has 4 horror stories and 4 ghosts. But everything is pretty predictable as the film uses horror “tropes” that are said to be “aged” in the genre. Most of them are in foreign films of the same genre, so if the audience is a seasoned “film nerd,” Ghost Story Near Home is almost impossible to fool them. Scare screens are nothing new (quite “subtle”), viewers may be surprised, but fear is uncertain.

For a smaller story, the first story – about the soul of the cane – is quite complete, but if you look closely, the storyline actually has nothing to do with the picture of sugarcane being painted on a sugarcane juice cart. This is the rule of “Chekhov’s guns”, which means that the details must be closely related to the whole story. For example, if a gun is introduced at the beginning of the film, then at or at the end of the film it must kill someone or be used. Likewise, at the beginning of the film, a female figure is mentioned on a sugarcane juice truck, at the end of the film, the image must reveal some truths related to the story. But the story focuses on witches who use black magic to immortalize which doesn’t require the image of sugarcane juice. If you delete this image, the story will not be affected at all. He (played by Kha Nhu) still uses witchcraft that seems to be inspired by the legend of Thai charms to carry out the scheme.