The Sleep Curse (2017) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan
Screened at this year's HKIFF, veteran of the gore fest genre Anthony Wong and Herman Yau reunites for the blood thirsty Horror/thriller Sleep Curse. It's been a long while since the pair made the 90s cult classics in Ebola and Untold Story and this one is rather tame in comparison save for two standout opening sequence and finale. Which isn't necessary a bad thing, but those looking for outright gore and shock horror will not be totally impressed. The Japanese occupation and traitor segments seem like a totally different film altogether and processes some truly inhumane treatment of Michelle Wai.
Anthony Wong plays a variety of generational roles including a Chinese traitor working for the Japanese during the WW2 (the father role) and the present role of researcher into the possibility of not sleeping and insomnia. In fact, most of the film is rather harmless and plays like a horror ghost story with an internal turmoil and haunting past. Wong does well in both roles, but that is now expected. It's refreshing to see him back on the big screen, given that he is no longer employable in Mainland China. Jojo Goh plays the role of the impending victim with a suitable air of mystery. Meanwhile, Gordon Lam reprise his Ip Man - Chinese traitor role with hate and despite. Michelle Wai shines as the twin sisters suffering the fate of their circumstances.
All in all, Sleep Curse is not entirely disappointing, but the gore and shock are too far apart for those looking for a similar 90s cult experience. Still, the Yau and Wong combo clearly works and the film is at its best when Wong is required to go totally crazy and beyond human imagination. There are good moments in this film, it's just not consistent enough.
I rated it 3.5/5
Out on Blu Ray and DVD now at https://neofilmshop.com/search?q=sleep+curse