Posted: 11/21/2003


Inner Senses


by Del Harvey

This DVD is available for purchase at

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Director Bruce Law Chi-Leung and producer Derek Yee Tung-Sing have put together a tight little ghost story with some truly frightening moments, thanks in large part to their actors’ abilities and employing a relatively low-key style. Easily comparable to The Sixth Sense, I found this suspense/horror film to be far superior in many ways.
Inner Senses is the story of Yan (Karena Lam), a young woman seemingly haunted by fleeting images of dead people. Told that it is all in her mind by her new psychologist Jim (Leslie Cheung), Yan at first assumes Jim will be just like all the other non-believing shrinks. Things take a surprising twist when Jim begins seeing ghosts as the two begin to unravel a mystery that leads to a forgotten past.

Inner Senses is the last film Leslie Cheung (Farewell, My Concubine, A Better Tomorrow) starred in before his untimely death. Cheung is a psychiatrist who tells his seminar attendees that there is no such thing as ghosts. But we eventually discover he’s been haunted by one particular spectre since his school days. Jim believes his latest patient is hallucinating when she claims to see dead people. Good at deducing other’s problems, Dr. Jim eventually helps Yan confront her inner demons and help her cure herself of these visions. Soon after, Jim and Yan begin to date, but the film takes a startling departure when he begins seeing apparitions from his own past.

Inner Senses is an effectively eerie little horror thriller that packs more shocks per frame than many American horror flicks. The scare in Inner Senses is not exhibited by deranged men in hocky masks or wielding limb-removing weapons, but rather is presented in a subtly more disturbing fashion, relying upon the dark recesses of our own psychological fears to embrace these ghostly apparitions as truly horrific and disturbing. And the best thing about this method is that there is no real threat of death from these visual forms; the fright is transmitted through the sheer realization that these are normal people trapped in some hellish limbo, and the only downside is that you have to witness their suffering over and over again and again.

If you like films that stretch the known boundaries, Inner Senses is a great little horror movie.

Del Harvey is a writer and the founder of Film Monthly, a devout Chicago Bears fan, loves Grant Park in any season, and teaches screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago.

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