Red to Kill
Director: Billy Tang
Stars: Lily Chung, Lo Man Yee, Ng Ai Cheung
This movie's plot is pretty simple. In one of HK's worst housing projects, a psycho is raping and murdering some of the tenants, which include a group of retarded adults. After a series of attacks and a failure by the police to do anything, the residents decide to take the law into their own hands.
In the world of Category III movies, it takes a lot to shock regular viewers of the genre. Apparently, this movie has pressed a few buttons. Even Asian Cult Cinema author Tom Weisser (who normally seems to have an obsession with these "roughies") said in his review of the film "Red to Kill is excessively grim, salacious, vile, offensive and sleazy." I will agree that there is a lot to take issue with in the movie, including several graphic rape scenes (some involving a semi-retarded girl played by Chung), necrophilia, a woman cutting her genitals with a straight razor, and just unrelenting and very gory violence.
However, at its' core, Red to Kill is a very effective horror/exploitation movie for a few reasons. First, the movie has a very ominous look to it -- full of dark blues and cast shadows -- which gives the viewer a spooky feeling throughout the movie. Secondly, the brutality in the film works. It's graphic, it's intense...it will scare the hell out of or, at the very least, disgust you. This movie's scenes stuck in my mind, unlike many others in the genre (both in HK and elsewhere) which blend together after a while. And finally, one cannot understate the power of the acting in this movie. Acting in genre films tends to usually get overlooked in favor of blood and sex, but here director "Bloody" Billy Tang manages to get some good performances out of his actors.
Red to Kill definitely is not for everyone, even for horror or exploitation fans. It is "excessively grim, salacious, vile, offensive and sleazy," but it's also one of the most intense viewing experiences you will ever have.
A review of the VCD for this movie can be found here
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