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Fairy Tale Killer - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Zui hung

Hong Kong 2012

Genre:
Thriller, Horror

Director:
Danny Pang

Cast:
Lau Ching-wan
Wang Baoqiang
Elanne Kwong
Joey Man
Ken Lo
Kelly Fu
Felix Lok
Lam Suet



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Fairy Tale Killer

Story: One night at a police station a deranged young man is presented to detective Han (Lau Ching-Wan). It turns out that the man is called Jun (Wang Baoqiang) and is apparently mentally handicapped. He confesses to be a murderer, but his alleged victim is still alive which is why he is set free. Shortly thereafter the dead body of the aforementioned victim is actually found. Han and his team now blame themselves for not taking the whole case serious. Fortunately, not all details have been written down on the report handed to Han's superior, but there is still some oil to pour on troubled waters. At the same time there happens to be a leak in Han's unit which is why in another matter information got through to the media. Han quickly shifts the blame to someone else and for that loses the respect of his team. At home a mentally disabled son and a wife, who he build up emotional distance to for quite a while already, await him. Han takes refuge in his work and also has his hands full since soon more victims start to pile up. Jun seems to be rehashing fairy tales with his killings and the disappearance of a female mental hospital inhabitant (Elanne Kwong) seems to be in some connection to the case as well.

Review: There hasn't been a noteworthy movie from the Pang brothers for quite a while now. "Re-cycle" might be their last work that falls into this category. Danny Pang once again just delivers mediocrety with "Fairy Tale Killer", maybe even less. It remains apparent, because of the visual finesse of the movie, that Pang is no rookie in the business and knows his craft, but the story is unspectacular and full of plot holes. Furthermore, the movie struggles with the fact that being a thriller it simply isn't captivating enough. Moreover, Lau Ching-wan seems to be way too good for the movie and because of that puts the flaws into the spotlight even more clearly. There should have been worked a lot more on the characters in order to create some real interest in them.

As a viewer there is no way not to see the numerous plot holes. Many aspects of the movie also stand in no relation to others. Why is Jun giving away his killing plans beforehand? What purpose does it serve that Han's child has autism? A certain link to Jun and his female friend, who happens to have autism as well, is created, at least that is what it seems, but in fact there is no such link. While Elanne Kwong plays her role with some pleasent subtlety Wang Baoqiang ("The Assembly") sadly can't be as convincing. There is too much overacting in his portrayal and in one scene in which he and his friend flip out and start beating themselves, there is a lot of alienation, which is mainly caused by Pang's inability to capture this scene at least somewhat as distressing as it was intended.

What is really not understandable are the sophisticated plans of mentally deficient Jun. He seems to have no autism, thus he also isn't an autistic savant, so where do his genius ideas with which he makes a whole police unit dance to his tune come from? Granted, the policemen aren't really acting like the smartest among mankind, but it still remains really odd how much Jun outmatches them, even though he can't really speak right and lives in a world of fairy tales. Han on the other hand is drawn in a more differentiated fashion, at least there is the attempt. He is everything but your loveable cop since he puts the blame on others and can't stand is autistic son. How are you supposed to sympathize with someone like him? Luckily, Lau Ching-wan is there to do the job.

Once more it becomes apparent how important it is for a thriller that investigations are leading somewhere thanks to some scattered hints and good police work in order to be of any interest to the viewer. "Fairy Tale Killer" misses to achieve just that and stumbles through the narrative. There are some attempts to put the chase for the killer forward but they are rather wretched. One thing that sticks out here more than anywhere else is the incredibly unfitting score. When it kicks in it does so in a too prominent way and almost never fits the scene you get to see on screen. It is very rare that you really get annoyed by something like that but here that's definitely the case.

"Fairy Tale Killer" deserves even more words of criticism for its ending. It seems that the scripwriters wanted to be especially smart, but in fact the twist feels forced - plain and simple. Maybe Pang even intended to move the viewer with it? If that were the case then we would have another fail. What's an absolute no-go concerning a thriller is when the viewer gets aware that something is supposed to be thrilling but he is actually just checking what time it is. Danny Pang may prove his technical expertise with his visuals and the dark coloring as well as some interesting camera angles, but the story he tells is tediously written and half-baked. At best hardcore thriller fans will be amused by this film but no one else.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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