Womb Ghosts 惡胎
Contemporary ghost story
2010, colour, 1.85:1, 88 mins
Directed by Dennis Law (羅守耀)
By Derek Elley
Thu, 12 August 2010, 08:26 AM (HKT)
Haunted-foetus horror movie has some squirmy moments but is shackled by a confused script. Genre festivals and ancillary.
Hong Kong, the present day. Shum Luk-ping (Koni Lui), a hostess at a club run by Madame Joyce (Maggie Shiu), finds she's three months' pregnant but miscarries after visiting a hospital doctor. Kwok Siu-fong (Chrissie Chau), a nurse at the same hospital, is having an affaire with Luk-ping's husband, Dr. Lee (Lai Lok-yi), and has been having increasingly horrific visions involving a young girl ghost. Siu-fong's father, Kwok Lok (Lam Suet), runs a sorcery business from his home in the New Territories, where he uses placenta stolen by Siu-fong from her hospital to "feed" a young boy ghost, Fat (Wong Zheng-kuan), whom he uses to haunt people and thus engender business. His latest client is Singaporean Wong Fong-ling (Dada Lo), who also works at Madame Joyce's with her friend Fiona (Chow Suk-wai).
Property developer-cum-filmmaker Dennis LAW 羅守耀 — who worked with Johnnie TO 杜琪峰 (whose Milkyway Image he bought into in 2003) and Herman YAU 邱禮濤 — has come a long way in seven features from his directing debut with the charmingly fluffy The Unusual Youth 非常青春期 (2005) to horror exploitationers like this one. The good news is that Womb Ghosts 惡胎 (2010) tries to reincarnate the spirit of Category III movies from the late '80s/early '90s; the bad news is that Law can't achieve the sheer over-the-top trashiness that Yau can be so good at and doesn't have the atmospheric skills that a younger genre director like Soi CHEANG 鄭保瑞 showed in his early movies like Horror Hotline... Big Head Monster 恐怖熱線之大頭怪嬰 (2001). Production values (especially Edmond FUNG 馮遠文's photography) are smooth, and the effects are OK, with a few genuine shocks; but Law's script is jerkily developed, with little idea how to handle its many characters. Part of the confusion is explained by the script's central time-trick and giant red herring, but in the end the movie is mostly a series of horror incidents, with no overall dramatic arc to really hook the audience.
ContactSales: Elixir Entertainment (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Theatrical release: Hong Kong, 18 Mar 2010.
Presented by Point Of View Movie Production (HK). Produced by Point of View Movie Production (HK). Executive producer: Dennis Law. Producer: Dennis Law.
Script: Dennis Law. Photography: Edmond Fung. Editing: Yau Chi-wai. Music: Tommy Wai. Art direction: Alex Mok. Costume design: Sukie Yip. Sound: Tam Tak-wing, Ken Wong, Frederick Wong. Action: Jack Wong. Visual effects: Alex Lim, Eric Lai (Free-D Workshop).
Cast: Chrissie Chau (Kwok Siu-fong/Zoe Kwok), Koni Lui (Shum Luk-ping/Winnie Shum), Lam Suet (Kwok Lok), Lai Lok-yi (Lei Yi-cheung/Joseph Lee), Maggie Shiu (Madame Joyce), Jo Koo (Ho Chi-ting/Miss T), Shermon Tang (Jay), Dada Lo (Wong Fong-ling/Joey Wong/Jena), A. Lin (Nancy), Hailey C (Mei-chi/Mildred), Wong Zheng-kuan (Fat), Xie Yuxin, Hana Kanoochi, Lam Ting-yan, So Chun-kit (womb ghosts), Chow Suk-wai (Fiona), Leung Pok-yan (Dr. Simon), Au Hin-wai (Tim Wong), Ho Kwok-nam (Choi, the restaurant owner), Lai Chi-wai (Boby), Chen Hung (Man), Tsang Yuk-kuen (Madame Lin), Ng Hoi-ying, Tam Tsz-yan (nurses), Hui Ming-fai (doctor), Yip Wan-keung (anaesthetist), Lau Yuk-ying, Chiu Chi-wai, Sit Wai-yu, Leung Tat-keung (nurses), Wong Man-chun, Kwok Yuk-keung, Wong Kwok-wah, Tai Yiu-fai (policemen), Lee Wei-shing (security guard).