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