Cheung Ka Fai is well on his way to be come a great and powerful actor/director in the lineage of Robert Redford and Ron Howard. His first attempt at acting and directing was the very decent Hungry Ghost Rituals, a bit jagged at times but a commendable effort with good story-telling skills, I'd rate that a 7/10.
In his second movie, Keeper of The Darkness, it not only confirms his place as a director but as one of the top ones. Ghost stories are easy to make but very hard to make it excellent. For one to be good, it has to have a decent storyline, scaring the shit out of people can be easy with silly shock or sound tactics, but its the untold twists and fears that reside in the minds of the audience that really make for a great movie.
Nick Cheung plays an exorcist who should have died when his mother committed suicide during his teens. At his service is an aspiring protege, Chung (Louis Cheung Kai-chung), and a cute journalist, Ling (Sisley Choi Si-pui), although Fatt already has all the underworld assistance he could use, anyway: since he was a kid, the loner has been sharing a run-down flat with the ghost of a beautiful mistress, Cherr (Amber Kuo Tsai-chieh). Here, I have to say the 3 supporting roles were fantastically played, with large doses of humour injected.
While Nick excelled as a director and he did a pretty decent job in the acting lead ... the scene stealers were all taken by the supporting cast - very competent, plenty of comedic turns and believable. Kudos to Cheung Kai Chung, Amber and in particular Sisley (who had the most difficult role).
Cheung's pacing of the movie, directing of lighting and shadows were excellent. The story telling was lovely, it hooks you and keep you very interested till the very end. What usually lifts a good movie to one that is excellent is how well the director makes us "feel for the main characters" - he did this well, you empathised and sympathised with them.
As a ghost story it is except but its more than that, its a lovely love story as well. A beautiful one that tells of sacrifices beyond one's own lifetime.
Go watch this ... 9.9/10!!!