09:04 - 24th April 2015, by Calum Waddell

Dream Home

To understand the impact of 2010’s Dream Home, and the reason why (in this lean time for Hong Kong cinema releases in the UK) it finds itself with an HD re-release, one must really comprehend the Category III boom in general. For those unaware, Category III is the ‘adult only’ classification on the island, and usually indicates violent or sexual content.

Back in the early 1990s, hardcore horror connoisseurs had gradually begun to drift towards the then-British colony for their fear-fix – thanks largely to the gruesome likes of Dr. Lamb (1992), The Untold Story (1993) and Ebola Syndrome (1996). Taboo breaking, and awash with blood, these movies were a revelation for the era – and created discussion about where the boundaries of ‘good taste’ lay. In later years, the Category III cycle has, however, weathered out – really only coming to any commercial prominence with action epics like Drug War (2012) or the softcore Sex and Zen 3D (2011) and last year’s hit porn-satire Naked Ambition. The latter outing, one of Hong Kong’s biggest grossing features of 2014, also starred Josie Ho – who takes the lead in Dream Home as a call centre worker whose wages cannot stretch to affording her ideal apartment.

Ho’s performance in Dream Home is deadly po-faced and she is largely believable as a psychopath who seeks to drive down the price of her favoured housing via a series of brutal slayings. At times, these murders are obnoxiously tasteless – such as the beating and smothering of a pregnant woman (arguably the most gratuitous and unpleasant sequence in the movie). However, this is, as mentioned, par for the course insofar as the classic Category III films of yesteryear went (for instance, The Untold Story has veteran actor Anthony Wong kill a room full of young children with a meat cleaver!). The sheer outrageousness of these old splatter masterworks was to leave the audience shell-shocked that anyone could possibly ‘go there’ – and to wearily endure the rest of the film’s running time. As such, taken in this context, Dream Home, whilst gruelling, acts as a fitting homage to the gory glory days of two decades ago. Moreover, whilst in reviews of Dream Home the influence of the French shocker Inside (2007) has generally gone unmentioned, this is really just a Cantonese variant on that fan favourite.

Slickly directed by Pang Ho-Cheung, Dream Home is a colourful bout of carnage that rarely lets its pace slip. There is minimal exposition once the sanguine starts to spill across the screen – just a large body count and an obnoxious amount of crimson-caked special effects. Unlikely to ever gain a release in the Chinese mainland, this was a movie designed to keep a specifically Hong Kong trend in vicious video nasty-esque violence alive. Whilst this HD upgrade will be essential to fans of the film, we hope it might also indicate to Network, and other aspiring UK distributors, that fans of Category III lunacy are still around. We can, after all, but dream about an eventual Blu-ray bow for the likes of The Story of Ricky (1991) or Run and Kill (1993).

Come on chaps, what about it?

It is a dream come true to have this Category III fright flick on Blu-ray!
SCORE: 4/5
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