Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Violent Organ Thievery
In which a good time is had by all.

I've just seen this Hong Kong film called Koma. It was a psychological thriller, and was exceptionally good by HK standards. The vast, vast majority of HK horror films I've seen have been completely over-the-top, nonsensical stories with comedic levels of gore and the lowest production values possible. I have seen no fewer than three HK films wherein a restaurant proprietor kills one or more persons and serves them in said restaurant, usually in the form of burgers. This always (always) culminates in the mad killer serving up a big plate of cannibal burgers to the police, and then while they're all talking about how delicious it is, the mad killer is obligated to scream "HAHAHA! YOU'RE ALL EATING HUMAN MEAT BUNS!!"

I'm not kidding about this.

But Koma, this was a different sort of film. It was quite stylishly filmed, and full of the bizarre plot twists and turns that Asian horror films are known for. I really enjoyed this, and I'd recommend it. And since I know that a few of the people who read this blog might actually get to see Koma, I won't give away too many details.

Here's a quick synopsis: you have this girl Ching. Ching has kidney failure. She desperately needs a new kidney, but she has a rare blood type. She is wealthy and popular, and very much in love with her surgeon boyfriend Wei.

Meanwhile, someone is stealing kidneys. It's a string of murders. Ching stumbles across one of the victims one night in a hotel. She sees a mysterious figure, and later identifies her in a police lineup. The mystery woman is Ling (yeah, yeah, I know... Ching and Ling, ha ha).

Turns out, Ling has been having sexual sex with Ching's boyfriend Wei. Everything goes all freaky here... Ling is insanely jealous of Ching. Wei is only having sex with Ling because Ching is too ill to be sexually active. He slaps Ling around and calls her bitch while they're having sexual sex. Ling stalks Ching, and menacingly threatens to steal her kidneys.

I won't say much more that this, because some of the plot twists are genuinely surprising, and I don't want to rob anyone of the experience of seeing this film. It was similar in a lot of ways to a Korean thriller called Tell Me Something, which I have been known to sing the praises of.

I rented this at the local Hollywood Video, which has rather a lot of Asian horror titles, so I can't imagine it would be terribly difficult for anyone to track down if they're interested. And as a general rule, Asian horror is a genre that more people really should explore. There's some genuinely scary and disturbing stuff there, and the subject matter is a lot more grim than most American horror films.

Right, then. Two reviews in an afternoon. How industrious of me.