Scaremonger


Aman Chang has had a varied filmography in his few years of directing – from Cat III nonsense like a few of the Raped by an Angel films to action fare such as Body Weapon and Fist Power to the comic foibles of Mr. Wai-go, Love and Sex of Eastern Hollywood and Cop Shop Babes. He has jumped from genre to genre – but he brings a consistently low brow commercial mentality to them all. Another common characteristic of most of his films is that they are simply not very good (though I would venture that Mr. Wai-go and Love and Sex are rather fun). Though often slickly produced, they are generally devoid of any intelligence whatsoever – all style over substance. Scaremonger is even a step down for Chang – it is still utterly vapid but doesn’t even offer his usual visual or titillating pleasures.
Sam Lee, Myolie Wu, Jerry Lam and Angela Tong
Chang has to be given credit (?) here for somehow managing to get to the 90-minute mark with a story as flimsy as a see through negligee. Of course, to accomplish this he has to throw in more filler than in a basic fast food hamburger – but it isn’t nearly as tasty. What begins as a potential horror story wanders around forever searching for its identity – is it a comedy (well it tries), is it a romance (well not exactly), is it supernatural (stupidly so) or is it just what ever came into Chang’s head on a given day. Of the running time only a small percentage of it is really devoted to what one might consider the main story – the rest is just mindless riffing.
There is one positive that comes out of this viewing experience – Angela Tong. I have seen her in a few other films – Bio-Zombie, PR Girls, Last Ghost Standing – but all of a sudden she appears all grown up and generates a very sensual and smoky presence. She is someone that I want to see more of in adult roles. Chang though limits her screen time to a few scenes and concentrates on the threesome of Sam Lee, Jerry Lam and newcomer Myolie Wu. Sam is up to his usual wide-mouthed shtick, Myolie comes across as a Vivian Hsu clone and Jerry is fast approaching a place on my list of “most annoying Hong Kong actors” along with Eric Kot and Natalis Chan. Chang seemingly allows him to do whatever he pleases even performing a five minute standup routine with a blow up doll that has no place in the film and is not in the least bit amusing. Jerry is tolerable in a supporting role – but as one of the leads he makes you reach desperately for the fast-forward on the remote like a drowning man for a life preserver.
Like a sultry siren, Angela slinks her way through a crowded disco and lays her bedroom eyes on men like heat-seeking missiles – and makes her choice according to blood type –AB is the blood du jour. She easily convinces them to come home with her where they are quickly turned into bloody fillets. Someone is hungry - and even children will do. Sam Lee and Jerry are looking into these mysterious deaths and recruit a ghost hunter – Myolie – who is as tough as a Hello Kitty toy on holiday. Myolie brings along her “little spirit” who for some reason is an Englishman that likes to milk at Jerry’s breast. The film then devolves into a lot of pointless attempts at comedy and romance before it comes back to the horror aspects of the film. In a luscious turn, Angela has been luring men back to her apartment to feed her zombie husband and the threesome soon come face to face with him. There are enticing glimpses within the film of something that could have been interesting – but it bypasses all of these for tedious pap and annoying dialogue and not nearly enough Angela.

My rating for this film: 4.0



DVD Information:

Distributed by Universe

The transfer is decent, but not overwhelming.

Letterboxed

8 Chapters

Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks

There is a trailer for this film but no others.

The subtitles are Chinese or English.

Star files on Sam Lee and Angela Tong  (who hails from Montreal, Canada)