This has got to be one of the longest gestation period of a Singapore film in recent years that has been stuck in development hell, then jumpstarted with a new lease of life.
The army camps and training grounds have got to be fuel for countless of ghost stories, but none as legendary as the famous Charlie Company (which at one time was a working title) at Pulau Tekong featuring the bunk with the infamous twin doors. There isn't any definitive version since the tale had gone through countless of reinterpretations by generations of drill sergeants and recruits alike, and I should know since I was trained within the confines of the same camp, and have to pass by that bunk for four months en route to the cookhouse during my conscript military training days. Just saying.
In any case I first caught whiff of the project during the time when I co-interviewed writers-directors Gilbert Chan and Joshua Chiang for their breakthrough indie feature S11 back in 2006, and Gilbert had mentioned he was working on Charlie Company. Since then he had gone on to co-direct films such as Love Matters with Jack Neo, while horror-comedies in Where Got Ghosts and The Ghosts Must Be Crazy, and the telemovie Pulau Hantu highlighted the appeal of local army horror stories, and I suppose with the setup of Gorylah Pictures in 2009, the stars have finally aligned for this project to be green lit, and so we're at this point in time where the feature now known as 23:59 is complete, and due for a release in October later this year.
In the meantime, the teaser is out on YouTube. It isn't much and frankly I thought the art direction would have nailed it if the bunk beds are of the double decker type, but I'm nitpicking!
A rumor had been circulating like wild fire amongst the soldiers. A mad woman living on the island had died at the exact hour of 23:59, and it is believed that her spirit had returned to haunt the soldiers at the exact same time.
One of the recruits, Tan, the introverted platoon outcast, is adamant that he will be the next victim of the mad woman's spirit.
He tries to convince his buddy Jeremy that the woman's spirit has been visiting him every night. Jeremy laughs it off and claims that there are no such things as ghosts in this world. They only exist because of Tan's overactive imagination.
However, during the 24 km road march for the platoon in the forest, Tan was found dead by the river, with his limbs contorted in a strange way and an expression of deep fear on his face.
Overwhelmed with guilt, Jeremy decides to investigate Tan's death, convinced that it was not an accident as what the military officers believe.
Little does he know that the truth behind Tan's death will unearth a terrible dark secret of the island and he will have to confront his deepest fears in order to find the truth.
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