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A Taiwanese horror film based on a famous legend from the region, The Tag-Along felt much like the 2018 film The Nun, in that it started off with promise and then declined into ridiculousness, though less dramatically so. The build up is engaging and the film does a good job at building a sense of confusion and dread. The little girl in red is barely seen, and when she is it's used to great effect. But that's when we only get glimpses of her. When she's forced into the foreground, then things start to fall apart. The CGI is awful, and having the computer-generated child run about on all fours like a scene from The Exorcist is just laughable. Also, the film completely loses focus in its 3rd act. It starts out being about the little girl in red legend and the effect she has on the people she follows, but suddenly its about marriage and family, and the heroine is suddenly being punished for her refusal to have children and commit to family life. It felt completely out of place and, more importantly, completely detracted from the central theme. It may have actually been about this all along, but the film was more interested in showing a CGI child running up the walls than informing us about the legend she represents. It's not a bad horror movie, its just unfocused, disjointed and is nearly completely undone by some horrendous special effects. Not sure why it needed a sequel, but I think I'll be giving it a miss.
Admittedly I was never particularly scared, and the FX of the scepter child often read like video-game graphics. But I was never scared in "Get Out," which is a brilliant thriller, seeped in cultural themes. To miss why this was the highest grossing thriller in Twain history is to miss the poignancy of Taiwanese culture, myths, superstitions, connection to ancestors and predominant belief in ghosts. Taiwan is also one of the most diverse religious hubs in the world, religion and culture which give a special nod to nature worship and animism. (Think Japan's glorious film Spirited Away.) If you watch this through an American Pie lens you will miss everything fantastic about this film. If you can get into the cultural lore you will be impressed and entertained. Yin-Shang Liu gives an amazing performance as Grandmother; all actors give strong performances. The closing does give way to a tidy theme that is conservative and to many it will read misogynistic (the US conservative right will love it.) I dinged the half star for this reason as it was sappy and jarring for a horror. But if you can be more open minded you'll enjoy the performances and thrill-ride in dreams and the forest.
Even the good direction and excellent performances can't save The Tag-Along from uninteresting scares, a bad script, and horrendous CGI effects
That was astonishingly forgettable.
It's about an urban legend in Taiwan with a great atmosphere-developing. Worth watching.
An underwhelming horror largely undone by tacky-looking CGI.