TO say that Danny Pang’s horror thriller, Fairy Tale Killer, is one of his best movies sounds an understatement. Pang and his twin brother, Oxide, seem to be experiencing director’s block, as they try to recapture the brilliance of their Thai horror movie, The Eye, in 2002.
The Eye was subsequently remade into the Hollywood version, starring Jessica Alba. Since the success of that movie, some parts were subsequently borrowed by other films and turned into spoofs.
The Pang brothers have teamed up to make films such as Storm Warriors, Bangkok Dangerous and Re-Cycle.
In Fairy Tale Killer, it seems, that Pang (the younger twin) has a lot more on his plate than he can handle. What started off as quite a promising horror-thriller, quickly turned into yet another disappointing genre, with under-developed plot and characters.
The way Pang executes his story seems to be the problem. As a matter of fact, the movie has so much potential to be as good as The Eye, but the lack of a good script dooms it from the start.
Jun (Wang Bao-qiang) walks into a police station, confessing to the murder of Cheung Fai (Lam Suet). Upon investigating, Detective Han (Sean Lau Ching-wan) and his team find Cheung alive and well. So Jun is released. But the next day, Cheung is found dead and all fingers point to Jun.
For some unexplained reason in the movie, Han orders his men to sweep the matter under the carpet. But when more bodies start surfacing, they scramble to catch the killer they let off.
With so many horror and grotesque scenes that could be developed, Pang opts for fast editing instead to reach the desired effect.
There are moments when he seems to be holding back on the most crucial full-blown horror scenes. Perhaps that’s just his style, but I feel that the movie could earn its extra points if Pang unveils that curtain and focuses on the torture scenes.
Acting-wise, Lau is obviously in his comfort zone although he lost the Best Actor award to Andy Lau at the recent 31st Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in A Simple Life. Here, Lau shows that — with or without the award — he is such a versatile actor that he can bring his roles to life.
In the movie, Lau balances between playing a frustrated cop and a family man with an autistic child.
Playing a psychotic killer with a sad past, Wang’s performance, although creepy at times, is not bad either. However, his character as Jun could have been further developed as well. For example, the filmmaker can include more flashbacks since most of the killings involve his past. Other notable performances include those of Joey Meng (of My Date With a Vampire series fame) and Elanne Kwong (The Wedding Diary).
However, I find that Kwong, who plays the autistic child, whose “dark” sketches of the fairytales somehow relate to the murder, could have given a better portrayal.
Kwong has never disappointed when delivering her roles as a rebellious daughter of a gang leader in the TVB series, E.U. or a girl dying of leukaemia in Basic Love.
Pang also uses a lot of sudden, jarring music as one of his scare tactics. Often it is not so much the scare scene that makes you jump out of your skin but the sudden loud music.
Still, Fairy Tale Killer is packed with enough action scenes to keep you in your seat.
FAIRY TALE KILLER (Mandarin and Cantonese)
Directed by Danny Pang
Starring Sean Lau Ching-wan, Wang Bao-qiang, Joey Meng, Elanne Kwong
Duration 94 minutes