Dream Home (2011)
Director: Ho-Cheung Pang
Josie Ho/Cheng Lai Sheung
Cheng Lai Sheung (Josie Ho) has one goal and one goal only: to buy a fancy pants Hong Kong apartment with a striking view of the Victoria harbor and she’ll slaughter anybody that gets in her way. And I mean that literally by the way just in case there was any doubt.
I had never heard of director Pang Ho Cheung before wrestling this angry PMS beeyatch and making her cry Uncle Arrow. Maybe that’s because his past work was outside the genre (comedy/dramas like Love in a Puff and Exodus) but I will keep tabs on him from now on. Although DREAM HOME was uneven for this mook, there was still enough genius at play for it to get my attention and make it yelp: Respect!
DREAM HOME had me a tad confused at first as to its chain of events being that its tale was told in a non-linear fashion. As the clock ticked forward, I kept going back and forth with it. Into it, frustrated, into it, frustrated, lost, back in, into it, scratching balls, lost, into it. Am not sure why Pang Ho Cheung felt that this fairly straightforward story needed to be spit out in a puzzle-ish fashion and right now I couldn’t tell ya if it was the right move or not, all that to yap; it had me on the fence. On one stab it elevated its simple story to a higher plane of complexity, being that it challenged my one feeble brain cell to play connect the dots but on the other stab; should I have to work this hard for this? Not sure but am leaning towards… NO!
My anchor to this descent into hell was without a doubt Josie Ho as the ambitious chick that will do whatever it takes to nab that pad. Ho displayed a mix of vulnerability, sweetness, lack of remorse and complete insanity that made me fall in love with her being that she reminded me of pretty much all of my ex girlfriends rolled up into one. Yup, I seem to attract the nuttier ones, and Ho’s character Cheng Lai Sheung was all that and a bag of Doritos! Seriously though, Josie had it going on and her brave and schizophrenic performance gave me a compelling female lead to care for and follow around while echoing the mood of the film itself. Oh I didn’t tell ya? Dream Home was one of them zany tone benders. It worked it as a drama, a satirical social statement, a dark comedy and yes as an over the top slasher. Actually, over the top doesn’t cut it for this flick’s gory goods. DAMN! To the extreme it rocked the mike like a vandal! It went all mothef*cking out! Not only did it sport a mean streak that only myself on Jack Daniels could rival (all about that suffocation bit…ouch… hard to watch) it also went buck nuts on on the healthy splats. Am talking a bong in the neck, a plank of wood in the mouth and you bet some dude got his dick snipped off. Props to Andrew Lin for his astounding makeup effects! WOW! They added to the harshness and out there vibe of the flick. It would have been nice if a gag-bag would have come with the screener though… would’ve spared my carpet from regurgitated Honey Nut Cheerios.
Visually Pang Ho Cheung was all up in this one; putting out an eclectic mix of static shots, crane shots, overhead shots and zany angles. This one was like an all you can eat whore-house as it gave me an eyeful via its diverse stylistic choices which needless to say made the sit down so much more engaging. On the flipside, as I mentioned above; the non linear manner the story was told didn’t work for me half the time as I was often putting my energy in figuring out where I was as opposed to putting it in the actual tale and its characters. Finally, some suspension of disbelief had to be applied here and there. For example, am not sure how competent Hong Kong cops are; but I have a hard time believing that mammoth slaughter and deafening gunfire in a populated apartment building wouldn't attract attention earlier on. Maybe I’m just used to my neighborhood where I bite into a Oreo cookie and the blue-boys are at my door busting chops.
All in all though DREAM HOME was fun times at the nut house. Riveting, gory beyond belief, sporting a relevant message and a bang on showcase by Miss Ho; I had a good time. Not sure about that non linear jive though but hey, what do I know, tap it for yourself and find out!
We get brutal bludgeonings, exact-o knife cuts, a spike in eye, a cruel and unsettling suffocation, a bong in the neck, stabbings, a cut off penis, a plank of wood in the mouth and much more! Gorehounds will get their cake and eat it too! Whatever that means...
T & A
Tits, ass, a porno on TV showing two chicks doing the nipple lick game, all good. The ladies get some dude’s cheeks...I don't mean his face...
DREAM HOME was a mean spirited, visually eclectic and extreme gore party with a solid performance by its lead gal Josie Ho. The affair was part slasher and part satirical social statement with a dash of bleak humor tossed in there. Yup, it made for a full chow down! Some suspension of disbelief had to be applied here and there and I think I would’ve dug it more if the story was told in a linear fashion, that way I could've focused fully on the happenings as opposed to trying to decipher who/why/where the hell I was... but hey that’s just me, you may feel different. Give it a whirl!
DREAM HOME was subjected to nearly 30 seconds of cuts before being granted release in China.
The film's original title is Wai dor lei ah yut ho.
Dream Home was the first feature from Josie Ho's production company 852 Films.
Dream Home was originally gonna be released on October 2009 in Hong Kong but due to legal disputes between 852 Films and the director it got delayed.