The Tag-Along


Horror / Thriller

IMDb Rating 5.3 10 1021


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1hr 33 min
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1hr 33 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Paul Magne Haakonsen 5 / 10

A rather mediocre foray into the Taiwanese horror cinema...

When I found "The Tag-Along" I was quite interested in getting a chance to watch it and did rush at the chance to do so. I must admit that I did have some expectations to the movie.

However, these expectations were not really met. And the movie just never really managed to impress me. Sure, it was an entertaining enough movie for what it turned out to be. But the movie just failed to be scary, or actually be interesting enough to make a lasting mark. Or perhaps I am just too hardened and seasoned of a decades of watching horror movies...

Regardless, this movie just wasn't particularly scary, and I doubt that even to Asians this is not overly scary. Unless you live in Taiwan, perhaps, and is familiar with the urban legend of the little girl in the red dress.

It should be said that the acting in the movie was quite good, and it was nice to see new faces on the screen. The actors and actresses were actually doing quite good jobs with their given roles and characters, just a shame that they had only so much to work with in terms of script and story.

There were very little special effects in the movie, and that is perhaps also a major part of why the movie just failed to latch on and hang on. It was a shame, because effects are usually crucial to horror movies, and very few of them manage to pull off having little or no special effects whatsoever. "The Tag-Along" failed at its attempt with whatever little special effects were present.

I managed to sit through the entire movie, because I wanted to see it to the end. And I just learned now that there is a sequel to "The Tag-Along" here in 2017. I can't really claim that such news are overly thrilling, since the first movie wasn't particular much of an outstanding movie in any way.

For an Asian horror movie, then "The Tag-Along" differentiates itself from the mainstream horror movies that is often seen in the Asian horror genre. However, it just wasn't unique enough to stand on its own and be particularly impressive. This wasn't a bad movie either, don't get me wrong, and it is actually watchable for sure.

The end result of how this movie turned out was, for me at least, mediocre, and I am rating the movie a mere 5 out of 10 stars.

Reviewed by moviexclusive 7 / 10

Tense, atmospheric and unsettling, this tale of loss, regret and familial love packs a surprisingly moving lesson on cherishing our loved ones whom we often take for granted

'The Tag-Along' takes a well-known urban legend in Taiwan and turns it into a bone-chilling mystery built around themes of loss, regret and familial love. Depending on your knowledge of Taiwanese folklore, you may or may not have heard of the 'little girl in red', who was infamously captured by a group of climbers on home video making their way along a mountain trail. That video was broadcast on television way back in 1988, and since then, others have reported similar sightings of a little girl in a red dress just before they had met with some form of calamity. Legend has it that the girl is a mountain demon known as 'mo-sien' (or 魔神仔 in Chinese), which preys on fear and guilt and is particularly drawn to children and the elderly.

So it is that the first to disappear in the film is an elderly woman who happens to be good friends with our lead male protagonist's grandma (Liu Yin–shang), a curmudgeonly lady confronted with the same fate one typical morning after making breakfast for her grandson Wei (River Huang). It will be a couple of days before Wei realises that she has gone missing – despite being his caretaker from young, Wei's busy work schedule as a real estate agent have kept the two apart in recent times, leaving his grandmother in constant lament about how little he sleeps every night and how little time he spends at home with her. Their estrangement is also in part due to Wei's relationship with his girlfriend Yi-chun (Hsu Wei Ning), who harbours no plans to get married, settle down or have kids even after five years, much to Wei's grandmother's dismay.

As you can expect, there is a lesson here on taking the ones who love us for granted – and as we learn through a series of flashbacks, Wei had made a promise to his grandmother when he was a kid that he would have dinner with her every night, even scribbling it on the underside of their dinner table. But it isn't just Wei who has a lesson to be learnt; midway through the film, Wei's grandmother is found walking lost and disoriented along a stretch of highway, right after Wei himself vanishes. Just as Wei had been taking his grandmother for granted, so has Yi-chun been doing likewise of Wei, and the second half of the film is as much about Yi-chun digging deeper into the legend of the 'mo-sien' as it is about her learning the depths of Wei's love for her.

If there is one thing that Jian Shi-geng's screenplay gets right, it is in establishing the relationships between Wei and his grandmother as well as between Wei and Yi-chun with careful attention and detail. Not only do we feel for Wei mourning the loss of his grandmother, we empathise with Yi-chun coping with the sudden departure of Wei, and within these two relationships, Jian makes keenly felt the regret we often face when the people who love us but whom we take for granted are abruptly taken away from us. The latter allows the climax set deep in a patch of dense forest to be both scary yet heartfelt, as Yi-chun resolves to save Wei from the clutches of the mountain demon that assumes the form of the 'little red girl'.

On his part, Cheng Wei-hao, who makes his feature filmmaking debut here, largely succeeds in sustaining a tense and uneasy atmosphere throughout the film. There are a couple of nicely earned 'jump' scares here, but what lingers is the sense of dread that he builds with the creaking of a door, the rustle of the wind and the voice of a little girl. Cheng loves to play with his audience's sense of focus, and an oft-used but nonetheless effective technique is how he teases us with something that we should be seeing on the periphery of the frame just before it jumps in our face. Just as well, Cheng hits the emotional beats of Jian's script nicely – in particular, an early sequence that shows Wei's grandmother trying to wake Wei up for work when his alarm rings and then preparing his breakfast and lunch box for him pays off subsequently in unexpectedly emotional ways.

No wonder then that 'The Tag-Along' has gone on to become the most successful horror movie in Taiwan in a decade – like the best of its genre, it isn't just a scattershot collection of scares but rather a poignant lesson on human nature that tugs on your heartstrings as much as it rattles your nerves. To be fair, it does owe its audience a couple of loose ends, and the CGI-heavy climax does border on overkill, but on the whole, Cheng's maiden entry to the horror genre is a spooky atmospheric affair that bears a foreboding omnipresence. At no point do you ever feel that its thrills are cheap or convenient, nor does it lose its emotional hook along the way, so if you're looking for a good scare, you'll find yourself in good company if you follow the little girl in red.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 5 / 10

Overly derivative Taiwanese ghost story

THE TAG-ALONG is a popular Taiwanese horror film that takes the form of a ghost story heavily indebted to the likes of RING and THE GRUDGE. Sadly, those Japanese classics were far more interesting than this lacklustre, by-the-numbers outing which is content to copy and imitate rather than innovate. The story's background - about a little girl in red whose appearance foreshadows disaster - is by far the most interesting thing about the production, given that it's based on a true story. Sadly, the film has a cheap, blue-tinted digital look and actors giving indifferent performances throughout. It becomes more and more reliant on ridiculously cheesy CGI ghosts as it goes on, and the one or two genuine scares are borrowed from better fare.

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