Night Corridor (Yao Ye Hui Lang)

Reviewed by Lee Alon

When one grisly morning his phone rings, starving artist Sam Yuen (Daniel Wu) couldnít have been less prepared. An unrecognizable voice claims his twin has been severely injured and urges Sam to pack up and leave London for HK.  Feeling obligated, the destitute painter somehow makes his way back, only to be informed of his twinís unfortunate demise. As if such grim tidings werenít enough, he finds his alcoholic mom (Kara Hui Ying-hung) deranged out of her wits.

Understandably stymied by these events of the macabre, Sam seeks answers, stepping into realms of HP Lovecraftian proportions. Everyone he literally bumps into has some dark secret or other dangling over their heads menacingly, including his former school teacher and priest (Eddie Ko), a classmate turned radio celebrity and a creepy librarian (Ku Feng) any idiot could tell would be best avoided. Disturbing facts pertaining to Samís twin surface, some through an alleged ex-girlfriend (Coco Chiang) who promptly proceeds to engage the new arrival in startling fornication. It transpires that feral monkeys at a local zoo mauled the twin, but above all else, conflicting information hints at a severe identity crises as Sam begins to wonder which of the two brothers actually died.
Author-director Julian Lee wanted a gothic, slightly grotesque atmosphere, shooting for one by incorporating sickly elements such as sexual deviance, paranoid delusions and murder. Sadly for him, the end result more resembles those pseudo-scary HK ghost flicks, albeit a very slick one at that. Despite tons of intellectual contrivances and direct references to Henry Fuseliís blunt imagery in his classic painting The Nightmare, Night Corridor doesnít reach lofty heights as did Seven, Twelve Monkeys and Memento, to name a few possible points of inspiration. However, it probably will work to raise Daniel Wuís career from its current mire following mediocre ho-hum appearances in both Love Undercover films, Naked Weapon and the atrocious Peeping.
Scant few locations and a short runtime probably stand as Night Corridorís main asset, not only constructing a viable ambience but additionally helping put the simple story within an appropriately brief context. Any longer and the whole caboodle would come crashing down.

Rating: 6/10

Directed by Julian Lee
Starring Daniel Wu, Coco Chiang, Kara Hui, Eddy Ko, Ku Feng
2003, Cantonese, 70 minutes

Contact Lee Alon here