In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Beware The Dragon Lady.

The wild card of this year's Midnight Madness programme was the French/Hong Kong co-production Red Nights.

Hong Kong provides a stunning back drop for this crime thriller about a wealthy sadist named Carrie (Carrie Ng) who will stop at nothing to possess an ancient treasure that has recently surfaced in the hands of a mysterious woman named Catherine (Frédérique Bel).

Red Nights is like a modern giallo. It is absolutely gorgeous to the point where every frame could be considered a piece of art. It is defintely the best use of the Red One camera I've seen so far.

Directors Julien Carbon & Laurent Courtiaud keep the tone largely somber, but every once and a while hit you with extreme violence. These sequences don't happen very often, but when they do, they have tremendous impact. I was reminded of Audition during one particular scene. I think the real star of this picture though, is the score. I remember thinking on several occasions that I had to track down the soundtrack after. It shouldn't be any surprise, as French composers Seppuku Paradigm are already known for thrusting notable scores for such films as Martyrs and Eden Log on festival audiences.


On a surface level, Red Nights is spectacular, but I was let down by the story. I was anticipating a climax that I felt the narrative had promised me, but when it went somewhere else, I was left unsatisfied. In retrospect, I'm aware that the film was about something else, but that still isn't much consolation to me. I do, however, think that Red Night's exploration of villain – or a character that would generally be considered the antagonist – as protagonist was very bold and innovative. Carrie Ng – returning to the screen after a long hiatus – does an excellent job as Chan, a psychotic sadist that still manages to ooze sexuality through every pore.

I can see Red Nights being a film that I come back to in a few years and then appreciate a lot more. Though the story left me wanting, there is no denying the excellent filmmaking on display here.

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