Set Up

Considering the names behind this film, one would expect something that had a much higher profile, but this Charles Heung/Wong Jing produced work came and went like a small mouse in the night with barely anyone noticing. It certainly isn’t one of their “A” films – and was clearly never intended to be - not with actors whose time has clearly passed and who were never even big stars back when. The main male actors are Michael Tse and Roy Cheung while Christy Chung is the major headliner. It is almost like they discovered this film in the vault from ten years ago and went “oops we forgot we had this” and proceeded to dust it off and put it out. Christy hasn’t made much news since she tried resuscitating her career in 2001 by showing her charms in Jan Dara and following this up with a steamy pictorial book and a video. This low budget effort won’t get her back on track and it may be time for her to keep a sharp eye out for a prospective wealthy husband – the refuge of many former actresses.
Director Billy Chung hit his high watermark in the early 90’s with the nasty gut-churning film “Love to Kill”, but is still around popping out films with some regularity – and though these are considerably toned down to match the taste of today’s audiences, he has put out a few quality “B” films like “Paramount Motel” and “Shiver”, but here he misses the mark. The plot ingredients for a solid thriller seem to all be here and there are a few good moments and images (one seemingly borrowed from the Japanese film “Freeze Me”), but the sluggish direction just isn’t very inspired and lacks any narrative drive. The film is basically a mishmash of the Hong Kong film “3 Days of a Blind Girl” and the Audrey Hepburn film “Wait Until Dark” about a blind woman in desperate danger.
Christy is getting married in a few days to Michael Tse but oddly decides this is just the perfect time to have Lasik surgery to correct her vision. She is a well-known fiction writer called “The Queen of Horror” with her novels about fighting vampires (don’t get excited about the first scene in the film which is her imagination at work on her latest novel and sadly looked a lot more fun than this turned out to be!) and at her bachlorette party, instead of the usual sex toys her friends give her a spear gun and a set of sharp wooden stakes. They in fact come in much more useful than a vibrator in the days to follow. After her surgery she is unable to see and told that it will take about three days for her vision to clear up and so her sister (Winnie Leung) takes her to the home Christy is going to move into after being married – a large remote house with lots of room for the dead bodies that begin accumulating there.
Four robbers steal gold and in the escape one of them is killed. They have an appointment to meet their buyer in a few days – at what had seemed a deserted house but that now has the two female occupants. Roy Cheung is the leader but he is having trouble controlling the mandatory psycho in the group (Tony Ho) and the quiet suspicious one (Marco Lok). They find the sister but she refuses to divulge the fact that Christy is healing up in a small hard to find room and soon bad things begin happening all around with gory results. Christy eventually wakes up and figures out what is going on – the dead bodies are a good hint as is the blood dripping on her forehead (“don’t tell me the house has a leak already”). After the panic hits and then leaves, she somehow manages in her blindness to set up a complicated and rather fun pulley system of ambushes with dead bodies and her spear gun and waits in the dark. This should have been better – and its hard to pinpoint why it generated so little tension or so few shocks – maybe it was Christy and her less than convincing performance (having to talk out loud so that we can figure out what she is thinking didn’t help matters) or maybe it was just on a budget that forced it to be shot too quickly and didn’t allow the film to live up to its potential.

My rating for this film: 5.0