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PopGap #26: Visible Secret (2001)

PopGap #26: Visible Secret (2001)

Written by dorrk
19 March 2017

If we all knew what we were actually doing the whole world would be different.

It's hard to imagine Visible Secret (a.k.a. You Ling Ren Jian) existing without the massive success of The Sixth Sense just two years earlier, and, yet, Ann Hui's 2001 supernatural mystery/romance is very much a work of the Hong Kong New Wave. Even with its somewhat obvious twists on M. Night Shyamalan's blockbuster twist, Visible Secret also borrows, memorably, from the black magic horror tradition of the 1970s-80s, infused with a sentimentality that is unmistakably Hong Kongese. Eason Chan and Shu Qi star as young lovers whose budding romance is an epicenter of paranormal phenomena. After a first-half-hour full of fun jolts, Visible Secret settles down into its familiar-ish mashup of The Sixth Sense and Chunking Express. Both Chan and Qi are extremely appealing leads, even if the recycled plot fails to earn the emotional payoff for which it strives. Technically, Visible Secret is a bit rough, often failing to pull off its more visually ambitious moments, creating a sense that Hui would be more comfortable with a relationship drama unmoored to horror genre trappings. Still, there are some good laughs and enough charm to make seeking out more from Hui's prolific career an inviting prospect. Anthony Chau-Sang Wong makes his third appearance this month, following The Mission and Time and Tide.

Visible Secret was brought to my Potluck Film Fest by Flickcharter Rick Winters, who can be found on Flickchart under the username AudreyKarloff. He ranks it on his chart at #342 / 2586 (87%), where it's his 9th favorite movie out of 46 about ghostsVisible Secret ranked on my Flickchart at 1940 / 3764 (48%), where it's my 28th favorite of 69 movies about ghosts.

PopGap #26: Visible Secret (2001)

Trailer for Visible Secret (2001)