Chinese language cinema

Film review: Big Fortune Hotel – C movie director Stephen Yip returns with more garbage

‘Comic horror’ film leaves many questions unanswered and a lot to be desired

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2015, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 November, 2015, 12:44pm

Some movies are so incompetently made that they give you a refreshed appreciation of everything else. Produced and directed by C-movie veteran  Stephen Yip Tin-hang from a script he co-wrote – which looks several major rewrites away from an adequate story – this horror comedy by definition only is that rare bottom feeder which cogently reminds its viewers that filmmaking is indeed a skilful undertaking.

Canto-pop singer Pakho Chau Pak-ho has likely seen the abyss of his film career after a series of critical disasters with this embarrassingly bland role in Big Fortune Hotel. A grieving Hong Kong musician who inadvertently checks into a haunted Malaysian mansion, Man (Chau) soon volunteers to help the ghost of Chinese opera singer Siu Dip (Shiga Lin Si-nga) track down her three murderers from 30 years ago.

As Man, Siu Dip and fellow lodgers take their investigation from the basement to the “Sriracha” forest, the film – harbouring no ambition to replicate a Lynchian mystery – leaves a million questions unanswered out of sheer negligence: Why was Siu Dip killed? How are the murderers related? Why is Helena Law Lan’s character cast in ghostly lighting while Lin’s isn’t? Where does the film title come from?

What follows is a downward spiral of dreary non-adventures and laughably clumsy scares, from a computer generated snake in the closet and a random skull on the ground, to possibly the stupidest joke involving a mirror/painting that’s ever been put on film. The silver lining: if a crude and crass product like Big Fortune Hotel could still find a way to get made, Hong Kong cinema is probably far from dying.

Big Fortune Hotel opens on November 5