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Unfortunately, Abnormal Beauty is one of those films that will annoy a lot of people, because it does not have enough explicit violence to please the gorehounds, yet contains enough to anger everyone else. It seems that almost all of the negative reviews I've seen are either the gorehounds complaining about the first "boring" hour, or the fans of psychological horror complaining about the "gratuitousness" of the last half hour. I think they both miss the point. Just like the critics of Audition.
The violence is not gratuitous here. There is a heaping amount of character development in this film that sets up the finale. This is not empty, sensationalistic tripe that Hollywood loves to release (e.g., Hostel, The Hills Have Eyes, etc.). If someone insists that Abnormal Beauty is gratuitous, then they are effectively saying that explicit violence cannot be used in a film without being so. This is a closed-minded Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of the most blatant type.
The second most complained about feature of this film (following complaints regarding the violence) was the introduction of the killer. Critics claim that he is a Deus ex Machina. The critics are wrong. Abnormal Beauty is not a murder mystery. It's a psychological horror film. The filmmakers are not obligated to present a trail of clues for the viewer to make a probable, educated guess at the identity of the killer. The purpose of presenting the killer is to introduce the perfected state of Jiney's undeveloped psychological affliction in an attempt to cure her of that affliction.Read more ›
The content of the Pang brothers' films are starting to mature as with potrayal of Karma/reincarnation in the EYE 2. This particular film deals with death and one's fascination and obsession with it. The story deals with 2 school girls(Roseanne and Race Wong, actually sisters in real life who make up the HK pop duo R2) Jiney and her hinted lover Jas. I know it is wierd and tiltilating.
Anyway, Jiney likes photography and gets obsessed with taking photos of death scenes. She got exhilarated and excited when she witnessed a car crash. Jiney develops a twisted hobby and as usual,(taking photos of dead fish, cats etc.) she attracts another in with this hobby, this "another" starts to toy with her. I won't give away the twists and turns but the person who toys with her is disappointing in a way.
However, the film itself has an eerie cinematic feel. The camera work is quite good and fresh, as with most of the Pangs' films. Basically, the "artful death photos" can be both a dark and creepy eye candy for the film. It has mild gore but not extreme.
As with the Pangs' other films, they develop great beginnings and they have a masterful way of putting characters in crisis. Their execution is truly fresh and the atmosphere emulates creepiness. It is the anticlimactic revelation of the villain that doesn't seem to fit but then sometimes, you say: "Why Not?Read more ›
Hong-Kong film "Ab-normal Beauty" starts with an intriguing setting about a woman with traumatic past, and Oxide Pang tells her story with his stylish cinematography, one of the well-known trademarks of the Pang Brothers. However, the film's carefully prepared settings are replaced by something else in the second half, where you will see a familiar theme (which I'd rather not discuss here). All I can say is the film might have been better had it explored more the slightly lesbian-like Jiney-Jas relations (especially when they got surprisingly good acing from Race Wong and Rosanne Wong, real-life sisters)..
A few words about the background history of the film. After jointly making terrific "The Eye" and its so-so sequel, the Pang Brothers made an interesting move. That is, the brothers decided to make two movies, one by Oxide Pang and the other by Danny Pang, both of which are loosely connected to each other by one episode about a traffic accident. Oxide Pang made "Sei mong se jun" ("Ab-normal Beauty") while Danny made more light-weight and less successful "Ah ma yau nan" ("Leave Me Alone") starring Ekin Cheng and Charlene Choi. Both can be enjoyed as stand-alone film.
"Ab-normal Beauty" is worth a look for its visual techniques and fine acting. But all in all the film is one of the average Asian horrors which could have been improved with a better script or final chapter.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dark suspenseful horror. Great story, writing and acting. Awesome cinematography. Has a gruesome slasher ending that felt out-of touch with / disconnected from the rest of the... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ken
Saw this film in theaters while traveling through Asia a few years back. Wasn't sure what to expect, I really liked it. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Corrado
This is a great Asian horror film. Kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat and once in a while just laughing. And then there is the most random out of no where ending. Read morePublished on February 3, 2014 by Cazbaz
Saw this on the IFC channel years ago. Horror fans and gorecons will be pleased with this film. Well worth the low price for stacking in the vault of indie films.Published on November 29, 2013 by JOSEPH W MALDONADO
This movie revolves around Jiney (Race Wong) who is a young attractive and tatented art student who was subjeted to traumatic experiences as a child that has caused friction... Read morePublished on August 11, 2013 by Ron
A photographer named Jin becomes obsessed w/ photos of death, after witnessing and taking pictures of a deadly car crash. Read morePublished on April 7, 2013 by Bindy Sue Frønkünschtein
The title pretty much sums it up, but the reason that I rated it so high was that despite these things, it still managed to be a pretty good movie. Read morePublished on December 4, 2012 by Mari