Dream Home (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner19/11/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 96 mins

Sharply directed and cleverly written, this is a suitably gory, frequently suspenseful and occasionally blackly funny horror movie that gains an extra kick from its uncomfortable topicality.

What's it all about?
Directed by Pang Ho-Cheung, Dream Home is supposedly based on a true story (though it isn't really) and stars Josie Ho as Cheng Lai Sheung, an obsessed woman who breaks into a swanky harbourside apartment building in Hong Kong and proceeds to murder several of the inhabitants. As she does so, flashbacks gradually reveal her motivation, beginning in her childhood when government-colluding Triad gangs forced her neighbours out of their homes to make room for property developers and the eventual construction of the very apartment complex she’s broken into.

Later flashbacks reveal Cheung working two jobs and saving every penny she makes in order to buy her dream home, a flat with a view of the harbour. However, just as she's about to reach her goal, she finds her savings jeopardised by her ex-builder father's mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos).

The Good
Josie Ho (who also co-produced the film) is superb as Sheung: the contrast between the shy, quiet office worker in the flashback sequences and the vicious killer she becomes (her victims include a pregnant woman and various innocent by-standers) makes us constantly curious to see exactly what pushed her over the edge. As such, the script is cleverly written, delaying the explanations as the flashbacks unfold until the climax and also drawing some not-so-subtle parallels (e.g. between Cheung's actions and those of the Triads) along the way.

Pang Ho-Cheung displays a sharp eye for an inventive gore sequence, with several household objects being put to unconventional use: the scene with the vacuum bag is particularly shocking. The fight sequences are equally well staged and there's also a surprising amount of sex in the film, particularly during Cheung's lengthy attack on a pair of shagging couples.

The Great
What gives the film its extra edge is the painfully topical context of the Hong Kong housing crisis – anyone who's ever tried to buy (or rent) a house will find it hard not to sympathise with Cheung's actions and may see the film as some sort of cathartic exercise in wish fulfillment.

Worth seeing?
Gory, suspenseful and darkly funny, Dream Home is a cleverly directed, effectively chilling Hong Kong horror with a superb performance from Josie Ho. Recommended.

Film Trailer

Dream Home (18)
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Content updated: 17/12/2017 17:46

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