Nightmares in Precinct 7
This film was put together by the same team that
produced Killing End with Herman Yau directing, Simon Loui and Yau writing
the script and Andy Hui and Loletta Lee headlining the cast. It’s a much
stronger film than Killing End and produces a surprising amount of pathos
and sense of loss along the way. It takes certain elements from different
films and different genres and comes close to producing an entirely new
genre – the cop/ghost buddy film. Ghosts and the supernatural weave in
and out of the story – but they aren’t the frightening ones – much more
horrifying is man.
Andy Hui is a top cop and leads his team on an
assignment to capture a gang of killers – but in an attempt to capture
them two of his men are killed and he is shot through the head and goes
into a coma. A very long coma. He wakes up more than two years later to
discover that his mother has died and his girlfriend, Fennie Yuen, has
married another man – and he feels an oppressive sense of guilt for the
two men who died under his command. He also sees the dead. Everywhere.
The ghosts share the world with us - but
they go about their business and make no real attempt to interfere with
the living – and Andy begins a friendship with one of them, Cheung Tat-ming,
a psychiatrist who died at a young age. He also begins a friendship with
the nurse who cared for him during his coma, Loletta. When he is better
he goes back to duty and he and his partner, Simon, are assigned to find
a serial killer of nurses – and yes – his next target is Loletta
- but it all plays out much differently than one might expect. Cheung gives
him advice not only on the characteristics of the killer, but he can also
sense when the life meter of an individual is diminishing and Loletta’s
is dropping faster than hemlines in the 90s.
Within this almost standard plot (excepting the
ghost angle of course), Yau permeates the film with layers of sadness for
both the living and for the dead, the inevitability and acceptance of death
and at the same time the need to continue living for as long as we can.
There are a couple underplayed but moving scenes that give the film some
depth – Hui’s meeting with a guilt-ridden Fennie after coming out of his
coma, his being forgiven by his two dead comrades, his quiet talk with
one of the dead nurses and the final jolting scene that is wrenching and
life affirming at the same time. These are not emotions that one would
necessarily expect from what might be perceived as a low budget horror
film – but horror is not at all what Yau is aiming for here - unless it
is simply the horror of all of us having to let go of life someday.
Making appearances also are Lam Suet as the small
time thief, William So as the relative of one of the dead cops and Henry
Fong Ping as Hui's supervisor.
My rating for this film: 7.0