STUDIO: Tartan
MSRP: $22.95

RUNNING TIME: 97 Minutes
• "Making-of" featurette
• Commentary w/ director, crew, and screenwriter
• Deleted scenes
• Trailer

The Pitch

Amityville Horror

The Humans

Kwan, Jason Chang, Chang Yu-Chen.

The Nutshell

Yang is the luckiest architect. Out of the blue, he finds himself the sole heir
to a plot of land, featuring one ancient and marvelous mansion. As if that
weren’t enough, he’s also managed to bag himself a world-class dancer as a
girlfriend. They start their new life together in the mansion, but it isn’t
long before some weird things start to happen.

As the
strange phenomena increase, James gets the distinct pleasure of confronting his
past, including the bizarre mass suicide that left him sole heir of the estate,
and the legends of child ghosts that brought unlimited power to the Yang

Mama always warned you that you could drown in a spoonful of water,
if you had a mind to.

The Lowdown

A lot of
the fun of mysteries lies with the answers. It’s not an accident that spoilers
flourish on the web, and in conversations with that mouthy punk in billing who
couldn’t keep the ending to The Sixth Sense to himself. Like a
long joke with a rewarding punch line, a lot of suspense hinges on a
captivating mystery with a satisfying resolution. Usually, what we audiences
get is an engrossing plot with tacked-on endings, because it’s far easier to
let the plot spin out of control than it is to finesse it into a coherent

The Heirloom goes the other direction, with a
pair of leading acts that are fairly limp and uninteresting in the mystery
department, but are redeemed somewhat by a carefully-executed conclusion.

haunted house fare that supports most of the hour-and-a-half running time isn’t
anything particularly special. It errs a touch on the side of incoherence,
because of too-brief introductions to characters, and is paced and plotted such
that it owes an obvious debt to the original Amityville Horror.

for The
comes through its source material and its Shakespearian tragic
ending. The film leads off with a brief explanation of a form of powerful folk
spirit that might be unfamiliar to a Western audience. These spirits are the
ghosts of stillborn children who grow powerful by being fed the blood of their
own family, and are enthralled by the hand that feeds them. It’s a mythology
distinct enough to engage the audience, but doesn’t really figure into the plot
until the beginning of the third act.

Birthday parties at the Yang household generally devolved into games of
"Pin The Suicide Plot On The Survivor."

What a
third act, though. Just when most films begin to lose their momentum, The
switches gears and finally finds its tempo. Revelations come
at the audience hard and fast — with just a little too much reliance on
flashback — and bend the relationship of the leads into a tragic sort of
pretzel in which inhumanity seems like the most humane of actions. It’s heavy
melodrama, and might be considered unearned based on what precedes it, but the
sudden unraveling of these characters life achieves exactly the oppressive tone
that it seems the rest of the film was gunning for.

The Heirloom is a mediocre thriller with a
terrific conclusion, a serviceable construct with a good head on its shoulders.

The Package

The most
interesting bonus on this disc is the feature-length commentary with a whole chunk of the filmmaking crew. We don’t get a whole lot of movies from
Taiwan for our region 1 consumption, so
this commentary is just as educational as can be, and covers a lot of angles. It’s got a bit of a colder
tone than the camaraderie usually shown on these tracks, but in most cases I
don’t mind getting a bit more trivia in exchange.

The disc
also features the usual suspects with a behind-the-scenes featurette, a
collection of understandably deleted scenes, and trailers.

Audio and
video are of the quality we have come to expect from Tartan releases, that is
to say top notch. The disc features both Dolby and DTS tracks, both which pack
enough punch to kill a baby.

7.1 out of 10