Dream Home [Wai dor lei ah yut ho] (2010) Review

Heralded as ‘Halloween meets Homes Under the Hammer’, this socially satirical slasher takes a serrated blade to the brutal modern world of high price flats and cut throat estate agents where buying your ideal domicile is a deadly business.

Opening with the wise words ‘In a crazy city if one is to survive he’s got to be more crazy’ the mad metropolis mentioned is Hong Kong, where Cheng Lai-sheung (Josie Ho) is desperate to buy a flat in the famed Victoria Harbor – a swanky new apartment costing much more than she could afford.

A hard-working bank employee who spends her days pushing credit cards to customers, she is already in debt and spends her nights at a second job. Her life has always been one of pain and strife growing up in poverty opposite the block she is now so desperate to live in.

Pushed to the edge by family and personal problems she decides to take matters into her own hands, breaking into the block to wreak a bloody havoc on the people who have what she wants – painting the walls with their blood on a brutal night of revenge against the system which has kept her from her dream home.

Working brilliantly as both a cutting comment on modern-day society and a shocking slasher film director Pang Ho-Cheung, who also produced and co-wrote the film, came up with the idea one day when discussing with his friends what unspeakable illegal things you would have to do to afford a flat in the Hong Kong’s high price housing market.

Wonderfully constructed and stylishly shot, the film flips between Cheng Lai-sheung’s real time rampage and a detailed exploration of her childhood and past which builds to reveal the how’s and whys of her murderous mind set.

Detailing the deceitful and deprived urban sprawl the characters cohabitate in, we witness a depressing dark world where no one seems content or happy. Men cheat on their wives, wives moan about their men and aspiration and desperation walk hand in hand towards a bleak future of broken dreams.

Striking a cord universally in the developed world (even more-so in the current financial climate) the films harsh and unflinching exploration into the ugly side of society and human nature is more than matched by the horrific killings which push the boundaries of blood and gore to the very edge. Especially the murder of a pregnant woman, realised using brilliant special effects and make up.

dream home Wai dor lei ah yut ho

A cutting comment on contemporary consumer culture and a suspense and splatter filled stalk and slash, Dream Home is an excellent example of a horror film which uses the genre conventions to achieve far more than it first appears.

This movie decisively proves Ho-Cheung is definitely a horror director to watch but probably not one to share a flat with.

Movie Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Trailer:

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