4.5 Stars
Year Released: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 80 minutes
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This is a colorful, funny, and enchanting film about a young boy named Dou-Dou, and his unusual experiences while a guest of his Grandmother, a woman who fulfills a traditional Taiwanese role and helps the spirits of the dead find their way to the afterlife.
When he accidentally releases a demon Grandma keeps trapped in a bottle, hell literally breaks loose. The demon possesses Grandma’s black cat, and it begins to bend the lad’s ear in attempt to wreak revenge on Grandma. When the demon shows Dou-Dou how to see ghosts as well, he becomes enmeshed in his familial legacy, and plays part in a struggle between good and evil.
The story introduces us to a fantastic array of unusual characters, including the hilariously possessed evil kitty, the ghost of a snake squished flat by a truck, a dead little girl whose pissed-off rag-doll acts as her interpreter, and of course Grandma, who is a frothy mixture of bluster and unconditional love.
The story beautifully discusses the idea of life after death, and captures a fairy-tale atmosphere seen through the eyes of a child comparable to the works of Japan’s Hayao Miyazaki (“My Neighbor Totoro”).

Posted on May 17, 1999 in Reviews by

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