23:59 is a 2011 Malaysian-Singaporean horror film directed by Gilbert Chan, centering around a group of young soldiers who are finishing their national service.
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Stay away, army boys!
23:59 is a locally produced horror movie which depicts the terrors that befall NS boys in their army days. I strongly discourage potential or current NS boys from watching this movie as its scary-meter is 10/10 for me. But that’s probably because I’m a bit of a coward.
However, the graphics in the film were rather unnatural and excessively gory that viewers may react in disgust rather than horror. I remember there was a scene where an army boy’s hand got chopped off but the scene was so unbelievably gory that my friends and I began laughing instead of hiding behind pillows.
Overall, it is the first locally produced horror film and is a rather commendable effort. This explains its strong box office performance initially. I strongly discourage boys from watching this movie as the stories may stay in your head FOR LIFE.
Based on true army stories, this movie left me with chills down my spine.
There were some shocking moments that made me jump out of my seat - the exaggeration of the scenes made it even more scary than if one had really encountered a ghost, I think. In my personal opinion, I think it is highly unlikely that one person would be so unlucky to illicit the wrath of so many ghosts. Maybe my worries and fears were unfounded.
However, it is because of the exaggeration of the scenes that made the movie somewhat unbelievable. While it gave the movie the added scary element, it also took away the element of truth and reality - it made me realise that the movies are meant for entertainment and shouldn't be taken as truth.
I understand local films don't often get high budgets to play around with and experiment, but there is no excuse for this travesty.
Playing on the ever-present fear of the unknown, 23:59 is a film playing on the urban legends that are present in our culture. I can get where they are drawing inspiration from, but it is such a boring approach to take! So many horror movies have already been made from National Service, and I have to say none of them have been truly good so far.
It could have been good, if it wasn't for a sudden plot swerve in the film - I have no idea why the director did that, the entire movie just went to pieces from there. If he had stuck to the main plot, one where the spectres spook the soldiers for 'disturbing' them, it would have been a decent film - one that is boring and done-to-death maybe, but not a mess that it currently is.
Only thing frightening about the movie is how bad it is.
With a cliched storyline that has been flogged to death, you cannot help but wonder whether the scriptwriters even put in any effort at all.
23:59 is nothing but a compilation of the supposedly most frightening army stories in Singapore. Stories that have already been told by mouth basically manifest themselves in acting in the movie. There's nothing new in the movie, and it is obvious that the scriptwriters haven't tried at all.
Despite the scriptwriters' aforementioned lack of effort, this could have been a success. 23:59 had the potential to become actually bone-chillingly scary. Yet the plot twist made it not so. The entire story was not believable, an aspect that is crucial in a horror story. If the audience cannot believe the plot, how can they ever be frightened by it? The performance of the actors also made it hard to believe they were truly anxious and scared themselves.
A complete bust.
I can never understand why despite already knowing that each Singaporean horror flick is going to suck, I still watch them faithfully (and patriotically). 23:59 is no exception.
The producers of 23:59 make a weak attempt to create an army horror film by mashing together several well known local army scares (some of which I had even heard about from my cousins), some good looking faces, and a plot with an underlying message about familial love. 23:59 is definitely a horror movie gone wrong; amidst all the attempts to create a good scare for cinema-goers, the producers have neglected the base plot, and the entire movie doesn't quite make much sense.
I did get a little scared by 23:59 though. However, I have to admit that I'm easily spooked, so maybe I'm not a good judge of how scary it was. It was a little amusing at some parts, so I suppose this film would make quite good entertainment for those who are bored. Otherwise, don't waste your time on this. I sure did waste $8 on a ticket.