An excellent who-did-it psycho thriller starring two of Hong Kong’s most promising new actresses, Angelica Lee (The Eye) and Karena Lam (Inner Senses).
A horrid crime was committed at a wedding reception and bridesmaid Chi Ching (the awesome and charismatic Angelica Lee) was the lone eyewitness. At the police station, she recognized the suspect, Suen Ling (masterfully cold Karena Lam), in a line up.
She also discovered the affair between this stranger and her lover Wai.
All of a sudden the emotional turmoil surrounding her chronic illness resurfaced and quickly grew beyond control.
Meanwhile Ching became the target of a vicious assault, and it was Suen who came to her rescue.
The two of them slowly became friends.
But as they became more and more attached to each other, they also brought themselves closer and closer to unspeakable danger…
I have to straighten something out right now, I LOVE this movie, and that might make this review a little biased but don’t worry because you’ll hear ALL the pros and cons, no matter how few cons there are. As for the nit pickers I’d give this 4 stars if I was being overly critical, however I’ve chosen to give it 5 because the pros outweigh the cons so much.
The strongest aspect of KOMA is, without a doubt, the excellent acting.
Angelica Lee and Karena Lam are excellent as their characters Chi Ching and Suen Ling.
I’ll start with Angelica:
If you’ve seen Angelica Lee’s extraordinary performance in THE EYE, you’ll have no doubt that she is just an awesome actress, if you haven’t, you really should, because it comes highly recommended.
If you are familiar with her portrayal of the confused and frightened Mun who encounters troubles after regaining her sight after 18 years of being blind, you might be a bit disappointed with her performance in KOMA IF you don’t pay attention.
Ching is a very loud and extravagant woman, pretty much the exact opposite of her role as Mun, but while Ching is very out there she is still hurting on the inside. Ching has kidney failure and because of it she is very skinny and can’t control when she needs the bathroom. So at the same time Angelica must portray a woman who is loud and a socialite but on the inside is hurting because she is not happy with her body image and the way she looks. She must portray a woman who is hiding her true feelings but is also at the end of her rope because she is dealing with her illness and is becoming increasingly paranoid because she suspects Suen Ling is the murderer.
Some people would say her performance was overacting or her character doesn’t seem real at all, but you really gotta take into account all the hardships and suffering Ching is going through, and then you never doubt any action she takes, yes she’s seems a little TOO freaked out but that’s because she’s receiving threatening phone calls by the person she suspects is the killer and that’s just the way the deals with things. If Ching was a real person, she would be a person that you think would belong in a movie (you know the ones).
In this respect, Angelica Lee’s performance is excellent at her multi-layered character and shows how versatile she is. Oh and her perm at the start is pretty shocking.
In the other hand is Karena Lam, that cold, sad Karena.
To be honest, I just rambled about Angelica so much I’m a bit stuck on what to say about Karena that I haven’t already said for Angelica, they’re both just such naturally beautiful chicks and have such a strong onscreen presence.
Karena is a really great actress and fits her role perfectly as the anti-social Ling that has her own hardships with her ill mother and money problems.
Ling is very closed off and independent and money means a lot to her and Karena portrays her excellently.
To see more of Karena, check her out in INNER SENSES, she really stole the show from her co-star Leslie Cheung.
Anyway aside from the awesome acting, the next best thing in KOMA would be the great cinematography.
Tense camera work and the vivid colours make this a joy to watch.
The music is also especially good and has some excellent violin harmonies that set the atmosphere and is quite similar to the music in THE EYE, I wonder if the sound guy is the same.
KOMA also has it’s own theme song, sung by none other than Karena Lam herself, and it ain’t half bad if you’re into c-pop (Chinese pop music).
I’m not sure but I believe the song might have made the charts in Hong Kong for a little while after the film was shown in cinemas.
Story wise, KOMA may seem a bit simplistic in the “big reveal” department if you’re very familiar with similar films such as PSYCHO or even the Japanese animated movie PERFECT BLUE, and the final twist isn’t jaw dropping or surprising like that in A TALE OF TWO SISTERS or INTO THE MIRROR, however, the story itself and the final showdown far outweighs these flaws.
If you haven’t seen A TALE OF TWO SISTERS then the ending might just be more surprising for you than it was for me (curse that awesome ATO2S! it was just too good and set my expectations far too high for other movies).
However, I found its simplistic nature to be quit appealing instead of a flaw.
After watching it several times over and enjoying it every time, I found the simplicity was kind of a tribute to those older thriller films that began it all, again, such as PSYCHO (I know I’ve mentioned Psycho a lot but don’t expect Koma to have it’s own cross dressing head-case killer like Psycho). I do wish that they would’ve thrown out more red herring’s though.
Gore wise, KOMA does have the cringe factor, mostly slow scalpel cuttings, and it’s fair share of gushing red stuff (not to mention one very inconvenient axe wound).
Oh and before I forget, this little gem was actually directed by the guy who did INNER SENSES, which failed mostly because of a sloppy script and low budget, and I guess that shows the director can actually put together something very good when given the resources and a good script.
So if it’s a very engaging and brilliantly acted tale of love, friendship, and betrayal (and one fierce showdown with an axe wielding perm girl), KOMA is definitely your bag.
If you want to see two of Hong Kong’s most talented up-and-coming actresses working together in a very complete package, buy buy buy! $$
Please note that opinions expressed in any review are those of our customers and do not necessarily match those of the Play-Asia.com team.
kobe78(325) on 08, Dec. 2010 17:46 (HKT)
Excellent HK horror movie This movie is an excellent attempt by HK movie-makers to produce a horror movie to rival those from Thailand and South Korea. Karena and Angelica are excellent actresses who can excel in most movies and they gave another excellent account of themselves.
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