Fairy Tale Killer 追凶
2012, colour, 2.35:1, 93 mins
Directed by Danny Pang (彭發)
By Derek Elley
Mon, 30 July 2012, 15:30 PM (HKT)
Scrappy serial-killer tale that fails to make a case for Danny Pang as a solo director. Asian and genre events.
Hong Kong, the present day. A suspicious looking guy, Wu Zaijun (Wang Baoqiang), is arrested by the police one night and claims he's murdered several people, including Cheung Fai (Lam Suet), vice-chairman of a psychiatric hospital, because they are all "wolves". At Cheung Sha Wan police station, northwest Kowloon, Inspector Wong Wai-han (Lau Ching-wan) decides to discharge him, as Cheung Fai is found to be still alive. Next day, however, Cheung Fai is found dead, with seven pieces of stone in his stomach, and Wai-han's unit conceals the fact they let Zaijun go free the night before. The police find that a patient at the psychiatric hospital has gone missing - an autistic woman called Wong Yue-yee (Elanne Kwong) who never talks and covers the walls with paintings of horrific fairytales. She is actually now with Zaijun, who kills again. Meanwhile, Wai-han's own son, who is also autistic, starts manically painting similar images on the walls at home, putting further strain on Wai-han's marriage to Wai (Joey Man), who always takes their son's side. Clues lead the police to Chi Wo Orphanage, where Zaijun and Yue-yee grew up together as close friends. Zaijun turns himself in again for murder but the police can't hold him as there's no physical evidence. But the victims all worked at the orphanage at one time, and the next one looks like being Chiu Lan (Elena Kong), a lawyer. As the case progresses badly for Wai-han's unit, he loses the trust of his colleagues as well as his chances of promotion. And then Zaijun strikes again, on a massive scale.
If there was still any doubt as to which of the Pang Brothers 彭氏兄弟 was head of the queue when the talent was handed out, Fairy Tale Killer 追凶 settles it. Younger twin Danny PANG 彭發's first solo work in five years shows no improvement during his lay-off in going it alone, and fails to deliver on the marginal promise shown in his last movie, In Love with the Dead 塚愛 (2007). The gap between the two brothers is thrown into even higher relief by Oxide PANG 彭順's recent Sleepwalker in 3D 夢遊 (2011) which, despite some script flaws in its final half-hour, showed again his gift for genuine atmosphere-building, drawing real performances from his actors, and turning in good-looking product.
A serial-killer psychodrama in which the psychodrama doesn't even add up at a pulp level, Fairy Tale Killer wastes a solid cast on an illogical script — credited to four writers, including Danny Pang himself and SZETO Kam-yuen 司徒錦源 (who started in Johnnie TO 杜琪峰's Milkyway Image factory in the late '90s) — that tries to cram everything from marital strife to police corruption into an already foggy plot centred on autistic orphans. The fairytale elements — a common theme in the Pangs' horror films — is scrappily developed, while the serial killer himself, played by Mainland actor WANG Baoqiang 王寶強 (Blind Shaft 盲井 (2003)), inexplicably veers from inanity to intelligence. As the detective faced with solving the crimes, LAU Ching-wan 劉青雲 merely looks baffled.
On a technical level the film is just so-so, and not especially good-looking under Thai d.p. Decha SRIMANTA เดชา ศรีมันตะ (Chocolate ช็อคโกแลต (2008)), a Pang regular who's done better work under Oxide (The Detective Ｃ＋偵探 (2007)). Like Sleepwalker, the film is set in Hong Kong but was actually partly shot in Thailand.
ContactSales: Universe Entertainment, Hong Kong (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Theatrical release: Hong Kong, 11 May 2012.
Presented by Universe Entertainment (HK), in association with Le Vision Pictures, Sil-Metropole Organisation. Produced by Enable Film Production (HK), Films Station Production (HK). Executive producer: Daneil Lam. Producers: Alvin Lam, Danny Pang, Dong Peiwen, Zhang Zhao, Cheung Hong-tat, Ren Yue.
Script: Danny Pang, Szeto Kam-yuen, Jessica Chu, Wu Mengzhang. Photography: Decha Srimanta. Editing: Curran Pang. Music direction: Ronald Ng. Art direction: Phakhawat Thatsakhorn. Costume design: Supitra Pornjarungsak.
Cast: Lau Ching-wan (Inspector Wong Wai-han), Wang Baoqiang (Wu Zaijun), Elanne Kwong (Wong Yue-yee), Joey Man (Wai, Wai-han's wife), Ken Lo (Old Guy, Wai-han's colleague), Lam Suet (Cheung Fai), Felix Lok (Commander Chan, Wai-han's boss), Elena Kong (Chiu Lan, the lawyer), James Ho (Simon, detective), Gary Chiu (Sai, detective), Anson Leung (pathologist), Kelly Fu (Cindy, detective), Ciwi Lam, Rex Ho, Lam Ying-yuen, Carolyn Chan, Yip Wan-keung.