A mother goes in search of her missing teenage daughter after her sudden disappearance. She is told that her daughter was last seen in the company of a girl in red, leading the mother to attempt to unravel the mystery behind the girl.
Shu-fen (Rainie Yang) is employed as a social worker who discovers that a mother is keeping her daughter locked away in a hidden room. When she arrives, she finds that the woman, Mei-hua, has written out protection spells all over her own skin as well as her daughter’s (who is hiding under a large prayer banner in the room–a freaky sight). When Shu-fen pulls the daughter away and takes custody of her, Mei-hua screams and wails uncontrollably.
Meanwhile at home, Shu-fen’s own daughter, Ya-ting (Ruby Chan) announces that she is pregnant and mom is quick to decide that an abortion is the best way, even though daughter is hesitant and emotional. At the doctor’s, Ya-ting refuses to sign the consent form and soon enough goes missing from school. A security camera shows her walking off–in the company of a little girl dressed in red.
And so begins the sequel to The Tag-Along, a fairly effective little shocker that explored a creepy urban legend from Taiwan. The Tag-Along 2 emphasizes and expands upon the original, getting deeper and deeper into the mythology of Taiwan, as well as exploring the question of how women relate to each other, support each other, and ultimately rely on each other.
It’s refreshing that this sequel is focused on the role of women and mothers, and has very few male lead roles. About the only male of any importance in the whole film is Ya-ting’s boyfriend, Chun-kai (Wu Nien-hsuan), the father of her baby, who also has a…job? A calling? At any rate, he channels the Master Tiger, a Taiwanese god, and crawls around on all fours like a drug-sniffing dog, finding clues, both natural and supernatural. What could have been a ridiculous sideshow in this movie becomes a fascinating glimpse into these people’s beliefs as Wu gracefully bends his sinewy body along the forest floor with the utmost sincerity, looking for all intents and purposes like an actual tiger on the prowl.
As in the original movie, there are some genuinely shocking surprises, along with some wonderful little gross-out scenes as the possessed chow down and eat maggots and worms to…get back to nature? Make the audience gag? A little of both? Even with some jerky, wonky CGI near the end (an army of demons that look suspiciously like aborted fetuses attacking in an abandoned amusement park) the movie looks great and colorful and rich, accentuated with some terrific performances by each mother trying her hardest to save the very soul of her own daughter. Director Cheng Wei-Hao has created a sequel that mirrors the original fright fest in a myriad of ways, but is still refreshing and not just a boring retread.
|The Tag-Along 2|