Victim (1999) Review

"Victim" Chinese Theatrical Poster

"Victim" Chinese Theatrical Poster

Director: Ringo Lam
Writer: Ringo Lam, Joe Ma, Ho Man-lung
Producer: Joe Ma, Ringo Lam
Cast: Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Lau Ching-wan, Amy Kwok, Hui Siu Hung, Emily Kwan, Ma Tak Chung, Joe Ma Joe Lee, Wayne Lai
Running Time: 100 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

Ringo Lam steps into the horror-genre with this wickedly-dark film starring Lau Ching-wan and Tony Leung Ka-Fai. There has been endless debate on the film’s plot which leaves the viewer asking themselves: “How much of it is supernatural,” “How much if it is just plain human crime?”… whatever it may be, this film is a great exercise for those who appreciate a good mystery.

Lau Ching-wan plays “Manson Ma” (Helter Skelter anyone?), an ordinary guy who was mysteriously kidnapped and then dropped off at an old mansion to be picked up. Tony Leung is the cop who picks him up and finds Manson hanging from the wall, alive but unconscious. Manson is taken into custody for questioning the next day. Here’s the angle: The mansion, where Manson was found, is well-known to the public to be haunted, due to a tragic event that happened years ago where a man murdered his wife, child and then himself.

Amy Kwok, who plays Manson’s girlfriend (and Lau Ching-wan’s real-life wife) realizes that after the strange events, Manson is not only in deep shock, but also, a totally different person. This leads to the conclusion that he may have been possessed by the spirits at the mansion.

Meanwhile, Tony Leung is a bit skeptical. As more and more shocking clues turn up, he realizes that this all may be just in act or cover-up behind what really happened between Manson and the mysterious kidnappers. This is where the movie goes from Amityville Horror to Full Alert...

Victim is an intense, superbly-written crime/horror film, which doesn’t surprise me coming from Lam. Its entire cast, especially Amy Kwok and Lau-Ching-wan, all give powerful performances. There are known to be some VCD versions of this film that feature “ghostly” figures floating around towards the end.

Think of it as Lam’s take on The Shining, if you may. Highly recommended.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 8/10

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