Sub Prime Slash
“She’d kill for a harbour view…”
Director: Pang Ho-cheung / Writers: Pang Ho-cheung, Derek Tsang & Jimmy Wan / Cast: Josie Ho, Eason Chan, Michelle Ye, Paw Hee Ching, Chui Siu Keung Norman, Lam Yiu Sing, Derek Tsang, Lawrence Chou, Song Xiao Cheng, Zhou Chu Chu, Phat Chan, Felix Lok, Juno Mak.
Body Count: 13
A weird and gruesome satirical slasher flick which begins with a jolt as a sleeping security guard has a cable tie fastened around his throat. He struggles and tries to cut it off with a Stanley knife, jabbing his own throat instead. Slowly and agonisingly, he dies. Almost everyone dies slowly and agonisingly in Dream Home. “Fun” ahoy.
A non-linnear narrative tells the story of Cheng Lai Sheung, a young Hong Kong professional who is so desperate to buy a penthouse with a view of the admittedly stunning HK harbour, which even I was transfixed by when I visited a few years ago, that she intends to force down prices by killing the neighbours.
In between the time-coded murders, we learn about Sheung’s life: her crummy job cold-calling bank customers, flashbacks to her childhood on a friendly but downtrodden development which has been on the brink of bulldozing for some time. Her growing obsession with providing a prestigious pad for her family is amplified by her inability to get a mortgage and then re-complicated by her father’s illness, which is not covered by his health plan.
The murders in Dream Home are seemingly random and all of them gruesome; eyes are poked out, guts tumble across the floor, dicks hacked off and most uncomfortably, a heavily pregnant woman is suffocated with a vacuum bag. I questioned whether or not I wanted to continue watching but what is horror if not horrific? Elsewhere though, Pang Ho-cheung strives to make things darkly funny: a couple in the throes of sex are attacked by Sheung, who knifes the guy before lopping off his cock, sending a spray of blood over the girls back, which she assumes to be his man-paste while another guy, hanging in there after the contents of his torso have largely been emptied out over the charming laminate floors, decides there’s no better time to light up a joint.
Most of the victims are nameless, unsympathons: a quintet of drugs and sex-partying kids see their gathering go to hell, the cops who come to check on the noise don’t fare any better and, although sometimes seemingly ashamed of her actions, Sheung carries on with her project, more fortuitous a killer than a talented or invincible one: people tend to slip over or fall on sharp things and Sheung succeeds almost by accident.
Explicit nudity, drug-use, a helluva lot of the red stuff, Dream Home is a memorable flick, very nicely made and strangely poetic in its tale of materialism and status, especially when Sheung finally gets what she wants and learns that old lesson that you should be careful what you wish for – you might just get it all.