Victim (1999)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2005-08-01
Summary: Horror, suspense, cops and a very twisted plot
A kidnapping in a deserted multi-story parking lot, caught on tape by the security camera, the parking lot attendant run over by the escaping criminals. No one, including his girlfriend (Amy Kwok), can understand why Manson Ma (Lau Ching-Wan) has been kidnapped—he is neither rich nor powerful—he is an unemployed accountant. But kidnapped he has been.

Inspector Pit (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) has the case. His phone rings—Manson Ma is at the old haunted hotel—the hotel that everyone knows is haunted since the last proprietor killed himself and his family. Pit rushes to the haunted hotel, accompanied only by his afraid of ghosts partner. Pit climbs through a window—the front door is chained shut—and into a misty, foggy ballroom. Moonlight streams through windows, barely illuminating the scene. Suddenly the window he climbed through slams shut, as do all the doors leading from the ballroom—and then, just after he sees the chalk outline of the bodies of the hotel owner and his family, his flashlight fails. Rustling sounds with no source are heard. Of course it is a dark and stormy night...there may be a few more horror movie conventions shoehorned into this one scene but memory fails. It is very effective even if overdone.

Pit finds Manson Ma, hanging upside down in the next room, bound, gagged and blindfolded. Obviously there is something supernatural and very scary going on here and Manson Ma is the victim. Or perhaps not....

Then the movie shifts, with an almost audible clashing of gears, from horror to crime/suspense. Something definitely has happened to Ma but Pit is more interested in him as a potential suspect (but for what) than as a victim. Amy Fu, who is allowed to accompany the police just about everywhere, stands by her man but it is more and more difficult as Ma starts hitting the bottle.

Inspector Pit has his own problems—he is a workaholic who doesn’t find that much satisfaction in his job. He is convinced, with very little evidence that his wife is cheating on him. And this Ma case keeps getting more and more complicated.

Even with the odd mix of genres “Victim” is a terrific movie, buoyed by excellent acting by everyone involved and impeccable direction by Ringo Lam. Highly recommended.
Reviewer Score: 8