As a young woman embarks on a killing spree in a Hong Kong apartment building, random instances of her past are revealed to piece together why.
Hong Kong is not known for its horror films; action films, yes, and comedies certainly do well domestically, but horror films are a bit of a rarity. Sure, from time to time we are served an over-stylised, over-hyped outing such as The Eye, but these are still lacking when compared to Japanese and Korean counterparts. So it is with great surprise that Dream Home stands up not only as a great horror film by Hong Kong standards, but also can hold its head up amongst productions from the world over.
To those familiar with the politics of Hong Kong cinema, it is known that various standards of decency are usually adhered to so the film may be sold to the Mainland Chinese market, which is a huge money spinner and whose government still wields an enormous amount of power over what its population is aloud to see. With this in mind, director Ho-Chung Pang has made some incredibly daring decisions in regards to violence, narrative chronology and subject matter, which pretty much guarantee that the film won’t see distribution in its easiest market. One can only assume that they aim to make their money in the more international markets such as Japan, Europe and America. Gone are the simple, inoffensive stories, and the broad dialogue and humour, replaced with a relevant, nuanced backdrop for lashings of ultra-violence.
That aside, viewing it as a separate entity, on its own merits, and with the keen eye of a horror fan, it still stands up with the best of them. The murder sequences are original and inventive (some weapons of choice include a vacuum-pack bag, tie wraps, a bong tube and a table, to name just a few.), and don’t pull their punches when it comes to the bloodletting. All this would be fine by itself, but Dream Home is infused with a wickedly pitch black streak of humour, which only serves to separate it from the current crop of lacklustre gore-pornos and elevates the enjoyment factor. There are a few instances of poor CG gore, but nothing that hinders the film too much.
Josie Ho performs admirably as the lead, at once seeming fragile yet, paradoxically, unstoppable as a maniacal killing machine. She also held a producer role, so a hat must too be doffed to her for attaching herself to such a maverick production that could have easily damaged her reputation.
While a passing knowledge in Hong Kong’s recent history and economics serves the viewer with a more nuanced grounding for the film, it isn’t necessary, you can just revel in the violent splendour that is THE best Hong Kong horror film that I have ever seen.
B grade – for story telling
B grade – for originality
B grade – for acting
A grade – for violence
Overall grade B+