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The Heirloom

Poster for the movie "The Heirloom"

The Heirloom (2005)

97 min - Drama, Foreign, Horror - 15 September 2005
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A Taiwanese man returns to the island after years abroad when he inherits a house; when he and his fiancé move in, strange things start to happen.

Director:  Leste Chen


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A Taiwanese man returns to the island after years abroad when he inherits a house; when he and his fiancé move in, strange things start to happen.

Collections: Leste Chen

Genres: Drama, Foreign, Horror


Official Website: 
Country:   Taiwan
Language:  普通话
Release Date:  15 September 2005

Box Office

Company Credits

Production Companies: 

Technical Specs

Runtime:  1 h 37 min

It’s too early to start coining the term “T-Horror,” but Taiwanese scarefest The Heirloom could kick-start a whole new subdivision of Asian psychodramas along with its established Japanese and South Korean cousins.

The Heirloom by Leste Chen Movie Trailer

Spooky atmosphere starts from the off, with an intertitle describing the old Chinese custom of “nurturing little ghosts” – keeping dead fetuses in jars and watering them with blood to summon up evil powers. Evocative score by Jeffrey Cheng, from a major-minor piano theme to swirling washes of sound, is a strong assist throughout the movie. Rapid set-up has architect James Yang (Jason Chang) returning from the U.K. to inspect his inheritance, a musty old manse on the outskirts of Taipei.

His modern dance-ballet dancer g.f., Yo (Terri Kwan), wants to study abroad, but moves into the capacious house to keep him company. From the opening shots, helming by Leste Chen has a purposeful feel that’s very different from his aimless debut, Uninhibited, centered on post-high school kids. Lensing by Hong Kong’s Kwan Pun-leung (July Rhapsody, and co-d.p. on 2046), all atmospheric tracking shots and muted colors, also brings a K-Horror-like sheen to the pic that’s way above its modest budget.

When Yo’s friend, journalist Yi-chen (Chang Yu-chen), temporarily goes missing, and then James’ pal, Cheng (Tender Huang), ends up strangled in a tub, it soon becomes clear the manse – or something in it – has strange powers. In an awkward chunk of exposition halfway through, the mystery is explained by James’ institutionalized aunt (Lu Yi-ching), who tells of a mass suicide at the house 20 years earlier. Third act cranks up the horror with James and Yo trying to conquer the curse.

Derek Elley

Thanks to Far East Film Festival

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