DVD region 2. Network Releasing.
first caught Dream Home as the opening movie
at 2010’s Mayhem Festival,
where it set the wrongness bar pretty high. Now, it comes to DVD,
and thankfully has lost none of it’s impact; in fact, I
think a enjoyed it rather more the second time around.
Josie Ho plays Cheng, a woman with an obsession – she is
determined to own her own flat in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
But in 2007, house prices in Hong Kong are making Britain’s
housing market seem sensible, and while she is working two jobs
to save the money, the prices keep going up. Eventually, she is
forced to take drastic measures to force the value of the flat
she wants down – tooling up with DIY gear, she breaks into
the building and begins a systematic slaughter of neighbouring
There are no spoilers in that synopsis, by the way – the
film opens with Ho’s initial murder and then tells the back
story and current events through a series of intercutting flashbacks,
where we see her childhood dreams, her miserable life and her
increasing desperation as the sellers suddenly hike up the prices
at the last minute. You can almost sympathise with her
plight, especially as all her victims are portrayed in a negative
light – the flat full of stoners, the social climbers and
the hypocrites (more or less every man in this film seems to be
cheating on his wife). Of course, in reality, Ho is just as awful
as anyone on Location, Location, Location, willing
to sacrifice her life and everyone else’s just to live in
a ‘better’, more expensive and more investment-worthy
property. The film is only too aware of this, and the final scene
is a nice little kick in the teeth for our heroine, who may have
gotten away with murder, but is not necessarily going to profit
Home twists and turns through its story with great skill
– it would be easy for something with this sort of structure
to come unglued – and delivers some of the most outrageous,
brutal and shocking moments of violence you will ever see. All
the deaths here are long and painful (for Ho too, as she rarely
comes out of a killing unscathed) and the film frequently reaches
new levels of bad taste – but does so with such style and
imagination that it never descends to the level of a mere gorefest.
And the satirical side of the film, with it’s digs at our
fixations with the ‘property ladder’, is never overstated.
Josie Ho is excellent in the lead role, making someone who is
pretty monstrous someone we can relate to, and she does a good
job portraying a woman who has been pushed into her situation
through desperation – albeit a desperation of her own making.
Some of you may well see something of yourself in her!
More cynical and edgy than most Hong Kong cinema, Dream
Home is pretty wonderful, and well worth picking up –
if your homeowner budget allows.
The DVD comes with a video interview with Ho and a booklet written
by Billy Chainsaw that I haven’t seen but am sure is an
excellent addition to the package.
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