shocking films post for evidence). With this in mind, I believe Pang Ho-cheung's Dream Home is the bloodiest to come out of Hong Kong since Lam Nai-choi's notorious martial arts splatterfest Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky. But where that one floated on ultraviolent absurdity, Pang maintains a focused dread of a relentless (if bungling) slasher. It is set amid Hong Kong's real estate boom, with a backdrop of glittering new condo towers like the Victoria No. 1 (the literal Cantonese title, and the basis of much of the action) replacing the old ramshackle residences. Actual 2007 footage from protestors against the demolition of Queen's Pier add factual topicality to this feature. It's beautifully, slickly shot and boasts a LOT of practical effects (and is seemingly devoid of CGI gruesomeness). Despite the post-production delays — specifically a legal dispute b/w the director and production studio 852 Films, co-founded by Dream Home's lead and anti-hero Josie Ho — it finally debuted in spring of 2010, after America's housing bust, perhaps foreshadowing the unhappiness in store for the lead's own imperfect "dream home". But I am getting ahead of myself.
The film begins around midnight of October 2007 (dates are important, as much of the story's "modus", besides the full-out assault and murder, is told in flashbacks) in the security room of the Victoria No. 1. A security guard is nodding off and wakes up with a start when a nylon tie-strap is zipped around his throat. What follows is a lengthy, exhausting, grisly death, as he thrashes about, his leather shoes scuttling the marble floor, his fingers unable to get beneath the nylon band's grip. He grapples for a tool kit overhead (the camera shoots this from above, showing the dark-clothed perpetrator — Josie Ho — just out of view, watching him struggle), produces an X-Acto blade, and them proceeds to saw at the nylon tie, and eventually his own throat, severing his jugular or some major artery that pistons blackening blood out as he finally drops dead. The duration of his death and Pang's unwavering camera sets the tone: this ain't your regular slasher film. If Ho's ensuing violence followed this murder in realtime order, we'd have like an hour-long film of unyielding, improbably bloodshed. Lots and lots of killin' with seemingly no reason. Hence the director's many flashbacks, to Ho's daily life as the bank-teller drone Sheung (advising clients into debt, a deed she is notably averse to), meeting up with her married boyfriend at love hotels for a little respite while she saves up for this big new apartment.
Oh yeah, the beginning of Dream Home states this is based on a true story.