Review: FAIRY TALE KILLER 追凶 (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 17 September 2012

Review: FAIRY TALE KILLER 追凶 (2012)

Review: FAIRY TALE KILLER 追凶 (2012)

FAIRY TALE KILLER begins with an intriguing opening scene involving a suspicious-looking guy named Wu Zaijun (Wang Baoqiang) gets captured by the cops for loitering. His face is caked with makeup, and he also turns to be a mentally-challenged person. While held for questioning by Inspector Wong Wai-Han (Lau Ching-Wan), the leader of a five-man team (Ken Lo, James Ho, Gary Chiu and Kelly Fu), Wu reveals he has murdered someone named Cheung Fai (Lam Suet). To determine whether Wu is telling the truth or not, the cops investigate the matter and discovers that Cheung is alive and well. Realising they are being fooled about this, Wong decides to set him free since he figures Wu is a crazy idiot trying to waste their time. Next day, however, Cheung Fai is found dead, with seven pieces of stones stuffed inside his stomach. Soon Wong and his team realise they have committed a huge mistake of letting Wu walk scot-free the night before, and decides to conceal the fact for their wrongdoings. In turn, they try hard to solve the case as fast as possible before their situation goes from bad to worse. Meanwhile, Wong's personal life is no better. He has an autistic son whom he has a tough time trying to communicate with, while his estranged wife (Joey Meng) often blames him for not being sensitive enough to their own child.

REVIEW: On paper, Danny Pang's FAIRY TALE KILLER looks potential enough to warrant this as one of the must-see Hong Kong movie blockbusters of the year. It has the ever-reliable Lau Ching-Wan in the lead, a killer premise inspired from David Fincher's SE7EN (1995) and gothic elements of fairy tale undertones, plus one of the screenwriters here happens to be that Milkyway's highly-prolific Szeto Kam-Yuen. But for all the first-rate talents involved here, this highly-anticipated thriller is a huge disappointment in many ways.

It's a shame that a good set-up like this would have made into an interesting thriller. But Danny Pang's unfocused direction serves the biggest culprit here. While he does have a knack for visuals, he fails miserably to deliver any sense of mood or atmosphere to make this as creepy as possible. Instead, everything here feels so lifeless and what he can do the most is thrown over a couple of over-the-top scores to deliver jump scares which are hardly scary at all. The pace is also awfully slow, and the story is all half-realized ideas with little payoff.

Even all the cast here is sleepwalking throughout their roles. Lau Ching-Wan is terribly wasted here. Despite his would-be complex role, he looks completely lost here. As the serial killer Wu, Wang Baoqiang is equally shallow as well. While he still earns some credit for his mentally-challenged role, there's nothing much about him worth noticing for. As for the rest of the supporting casts, the less said the better.

FAIRY TALE KILLER is a yawner, and no doubt this movie shares the same ill-fated consequence with Roy Chow's NIGHTFALL earlier this year.

Despite the intriguing premise, Danny Pang's unfocused direction, as well as the shallow performances from Lau Ching-Wan and Wang Baoqiang, ruins the movie's overall potential.

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