Directed by Soi Cheang [Other horror films: Hung bou yit sin ji Dai tao gwai ying (2001), Hyn huet ching nin (2002), Gwai muk (2005)]
Known as The Death Curse in English, Goo chak sam fong fong is a somewhat forgettable horror/comedy experience from Hong Kong. The movie isn’t completely without merit, but it’s certainly not an Asian film that I’d count anywhere near among the best they have to offer.
There’s a few issues when talking about this one. Plot-wise, children of a recently-dead man come together for a reunion of sorts (in order to get their inheritance), which is all good and well, but the problem is that there’s eight of them. Well, seven, because one couldn’t be located (as soon as this was mentioned, I logged it in mind as something that was likely to come up later), but even so, it got a bit confusing trying to remember who’s who, especially when most of the children were similar-looking men.
Another issue, unavoidable in some circumstances when watching foreign films, was the captions here. The translations were, at times, rather iffy, and I somewhat suspect the version I saw wasn’t necessarily an official English release of the movie. I definitely prefer subtitles over dubbing, and I followed most of the conversations fine (despite the really odd syntax throughout), but I thought it was worth mentioning regardless.
Only two cast-members made that much an impression on me, three if I’m stretching it. Charlene Choi played Nancy, a somewhat annoying and bratty young woman, though she had some funny lines at times, and got better as the movie went on. Alex Fong played the family’s lawyer, and I loved this guy for his very lawyery, serious demeanor. He just had a style to him which I very much appreciated. The stretch addition is Lawrence Chou. His character starts out rather pathetically, but he sort of grows into an impressive individual.
The comedy here is about what you would expect. A lot of it doesn’t really work that well, and it somewhat made the finale here (which was actually somewhat decent) quite a bit more difficult to take seriously. A lot of the ideas here were interesting, but the comedy didn’t really add that much in my view, but I don’t think it overall ruined the film or anything so extreme.
Goo chak sam fong fong (I have to admit, that’s fun to write, for some reason) isn’t an Asian film that’s all that great, or even good. It’s competent, and it gets the job done, but as much as I enjoyed aspects of the finale, ultimately, The Death Curse was unremarkable, maybe good for one go, but not much more.