Also known as
Zhai Bian
Taiwan [2005] - 97m
Horror, Mystery
Directed by
Leste Chen
More info on
The Heirloom poster


July 22, 2007


November 04, 2021


Leste Chen takes a swing at the horror genre. Not too surprising, considering the Asian horror boom of the 00s, or the fact that horror cinema is an ideal platform for young directors who want to make a new for themselves. I really liked The Heirloom the first time I watched it, almost two decades later though, the film has some trouble setting itself apart from its peers.

James inherits the family house, after a big tragedy happened there 20 years earlier. He moves in with his girlfriend, but soon after strange things start happening to James and his friends. His girlfriend is certain the house is to blame, so they start delving into James' family history.

The muted color palette, snappy editing and stylish score form a solid foundation for a moody horror film. It should be no surprise that Chen mixes in mystery and drama elements too, a staple for Asian horror cinema. There's just not quite enough here to turn it into something unique. Not quite tense enough, not visually distinctive enough, not surprising enough. It's still a very solid film though, just no masterpiece.

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