Ab-Normal Beauty review

The latest from Oxide Pang Chun (The Eye) successfully spreads its net of influences across The Eyes Of Laura Mars and Peeping Tom – so far, so clammily creepy – before the over-heated ending mutates into a Marilyn Manson video crossed with The Cell.

Jiney (Race Wong), a troubled teen photographer, discovers a passion for capturing death on film. At first, she pays butchers to gut chickens and fish; later, her thoughts turn to murder. Chun’s darkroom-set scenes and paint-splashing creativity lean towards the trite but he captures something about transient, tormented teenage-dom in the film’s dreamlike visuals and drifting musicality. He blows it when the film veers off into an ideas-drain of gloatingly sadistic serial-killer schtick, complete with dank cellars, clanking chains and freaks in S&M masks. Ordinary and ugly, in the end.

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