Imagine someone made an over-the-top slasher film filled with more gore than Herschell Gordon Lewis ever dreamed of. Now, imagine that same film included great acting, a satirical look at class struggles, and a serious bit of commentary concerning the world wide economic crisis.
That tall order has been filled by Director Ho-Cheung Pang with his masterpiece, Dream Home (Wai dor lei ah yut ho).
Set in Hong Kong, Dream Home tells the tale of a young woman (the gorgeous and charismatic, Josie Ho) who grew up in a crowded, high rise flat in a lower middle class neighborhood, and now wants nothing more than a spacious apartment in a new building with a view of the sea. Through a lot of hard work (and one cold blooded decision on her part), she finally gets the money needed to put a bid on the place. However, due to a fluctuating stock market, the current owners turn her down unless she can meet the new higher price they want. Devastated over this turn of events, the woman hatches a blood soaked plot to win back her deluxe apartment in the sky.
Told through a series of flashbacks, Dream Home presents modern day Hong Kong as a claustrophobic world where people work, live, eat, travel, and fuck in extremely close proximity to each other. Indeed, private space seems to be at a minimum, so it makes sense that an apartment with a huge layout and breathing room would seem to be the ultimate goal of many. Furthermore we are shown how the real estate market that boomed once Hong Kong was handed back over to China in 1997 effectively displaced thousands from their homes as developers moved in and demolished existing structures to put up high cost / high rise buildings .
Be that as it may, our heroine keeps her eye on the prize and channels her inner sociopath, breaking into the neighboring apartments of the one she covets, and knocking off the owners (figuring that a series of murders nearby would devalue the apartment's worth) . Make no mistake, the killings in this movie are bloody disgusting; decapitations, castrations, disembowelment's and, most troubling, a pregnant woman suffocated by one of those clothing storage bags with a vacuum cleaner attached to it. Honestly, there is some real stomach turning stuff going on here.
Despite the gore (and baby, this one is a gore-fest), the actions of the heroine make sense (in a sick way); in a world that covets money and prestige, it seems that sometimes, a girl has no choice but to get her inner-Jason Voorhees on and get all slasher on innocent people's asses.
Dream Home may be set in the Far East, but the world it presents is the one we live in now. Consider the outrageous amounts people pay for apartments the size of a postage stamp in Manhattan, or other large cities...I mean only a deranged maniac would pay a million bucks per square foot, right? And that's the thing, in a post Patrick Bateman world seemingly normal folks might stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve. Greed may have brought them to this point, but cold blooded sociopathic behavior will help them survive it. And that's a lesson you'll never learn on HGTV.