Dream Home (2010) | This stomach churning Hong Kong horror makes gazumping the deadliest game to play
Set in a city where property development is the economy’s driving force, this 2010 Hong Kong horror satire is chillingly realistic. Canto pop singer and one of Asia’s hottest stars Josie Ho takes the title role of thirty something Cheng Li-sheung who is pushing herself to the limit working a number of jobs in a bid to save up for her ideal home. But this is not your average apartment – it’s a swanky pad in a waterfront tower complex built on property that Cheng’s family were forced to leave a decade earlier. When Cheng finds herself gazumped by the current owners, the obsessed woman goes on a bloody, brutal killing spree in the tower block slaughtering anyone who gets in her way…
Ho is totally believable as the hard-working Cheng driven over the edge trying to honour a promise to her late mother while looking after her invalid father. On the night of her murderous rampage, Cheng’s story is told in flashback. It’s a technique that takes time to get used to, but it’s worth the effort.
Dream Home (aka Wai dor lei ah yut ho) is certainly not for the faint-hearted. The orgy of violence really does test you: a pregnant woman is suffocated in plastic (too extreme for me); her adulterous husband gets an iron in the head; while a group of party kids get hammered, slashed and impaled. It’s unflinching and downright stomach churning, but there’s method in all this madness that’s played out in the film’s wry climax. The mixture of satire and extreme violence may not be too everyone’s taste, but Dream Home is certainly a cut above your average slasher and that’s down to the film’s ripe subject, so perfect for this credit crunch age.
Dream Home is available on Blu-ray from Network Distributing and includes an interview with Josie Ho, gallery, trailer and a booklet written by Billy Chainsaw as extras. Network’s 2010 DVD release featured the same extras.
Laconic yakuza Gorô Hanada (Jô Shishido) is the Tokyo underworld’s third-ranked hitman until a bungled hit makes him a marked man, setting him on a bullet-ridden, alcohol soaked journey involving a death-obsessed femme fatale (Anne Mari), a trecherous wife (Mariko Ogawa) and the legendary Number One Killer (Kôji Nanbara).
KONICHIWA SUZUKI FANS!
Shot in cool monochrome with hyper visuals akin to a 1960s Pop Art collage and a jazzy score, the Japanese hitman spoof Branded to Kill (aka Koroshi no rakuin) caused its director Seijun Suzuki to be fired by the studio’s executives, but is now highly recognised as his masterpiece – drawing comparisons with contemporaries Le Samouraï and Point Blank and influencing directors such as John Woo, Jim Jarmusch and Quentin Tarantino. It might not to be for all tastes, but if you fancy something searingly surreal and utterly out-there, then this deliriously offbeat chinmi is just for you.
THE UK RELEASE
The Arrow Video dual-format Blu-ray and DVD edition (out 18 August) features a restored digital transfer and new English subtitles, interviews with both director Seijun Suzuki and star Jo Shishido (both in Japanese), two trailers, plus the 1973 porno re-imagining Trapped in Lust (Aiyoku no wana) by screenwriter Atsushi Yamatoya. The collector’s booklet features illuminating essays on the film and its director by Japanese cinema specialist Jasper Sharp, plus there’s a reversible sleeve featuring some stunning new artwork by Ian MacEwan.