The House- -
When her husband's drug addiction destroys her perfect life, Jane (Maggie Siu) is forced to support herself and her young daughter, Ling, by taking a job as a security guard. One night Ling sees a soaking wet child doing homework at her desk. Eventually, Jane also felt that something unnatural was in the house; strange noises occur with frequency and she feels that an unseen presence is spying on her. Jane soon finds out that the house is haunted.
One of the few serious approaches to straight horror coming out of Hong Kong cinema of late, The House takes viewers into a haunted mansion for effective chills.
Single mother Miss Ching (Maggie Shiu) and her daughter Ling (Lai Wai-han) move into a flat in an old apartment block, its discounted price too good to pass up despite the girl sensing that something’s very wrong there. Left at home while her mother works night shifts, first Ling hears breathing from the fireplace, then sounds from the bathroom, and soon enough she’s seeing the ghosts of previous tenants. As frights mount, the petrified girl – and eventually her mother, too – are set to find out the sorry history of the apartment and why a mystery figure (Wayne Lai) won’t stay away.
Playing out like a low-budget horror mood piece, The House builds up its atmosphere and reveals bits of back story piece by piece – both of the apartment and of Miss Ching’s recent past. Ng Man-ching brings his skills as an established cinematographer to the fore in his first outing as director, capturing dowdy interiors in strong style while eschewing modern digital trickery in favour of a more basic, old-school approach. A ghost clad in opera garb comes across as beautifully creepy, and Ching’s lonely nighttime security job at the disused Central Market adds opportunities for scenes of torment. Maggie Shiu’s straight-faced performance keeps her character’s demons safely out of sight, and Wayne Lai puts in another of his over-the-top performances as a very troubled local.
Thanks to Far East Film Festival