image courtesy of Golden Harvest
Year of release: 2002
This movie is available for purchase at www.sensasian.com
Andy Hui. Image courtesy of Golden Harvest.This interesting, if not exactly mind-blowing, suspense-thriller picture shows that Hong Kong movies don't need tons of gunplay or high-flying kung fu to be exciting. The film starts with an actress being kidnapped; the culprit (Cha Chuen Yee) wants to play a game of cat and mouse with a former officer (Andy Hui), and so starts sending him cryptic clues. Things get more complicated when a psychic (Nicola Cheung) enters the picture as someone who can see who the next victim is going to be.
Nicola Cheung. Image courtesy of Golden Harvest.
While Billy Tang is best known for his Category III gorefests like Run and Kill, his last few films (in probably an adaptation to the more mellow style of the new millenium) have been fairly sedate. While there are no beheadings or brutal rapes in Interactive Murders (in fact, there is very little in the way of blood-letting at all), it still manages to create a creepy mood thanks to some polished camerawork and editing, as well as Cha Chuen Yee's performance. While the story is pretty straight-forward, there is a nice (and unexpected) Sixth Sense-style twist at the end which makes the viewer rethink the narrative. It's this kind of polished scriptwork which makes Interactive Murders stand above similar films, especially from Hong Kong, where the "flying paper" style tends to muddle many movies before they can make their point.
So why doesn't the movie warrant a higher rating? Interactive Murders, while good, didn't really impact me in any way. Everything is done competently, but it just lacks that certain something. I can't exactly tell you what that might be in this case -- maybe a bit of gore to pump up the horror value, or perhaps making Cha's character a bit more brutal as to make the tension rise -- but it does need something. Also, for how good the script is, there is a very dull patch in the second act that tends to lose the viewer, as suspense is replaced with romance. Overall, though, Interactive Murders is a solid supsense movie that probably won't satisfy gorehounds, but should offer solid entertainment for most other people.
Ken Wong. Image courtesy of Golden Harvest.