It may not be horror, but it is a good movie.
Elizabeth Chambers | Salem, Oregon, USA | 11/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I picked up The Monster (Or "Home Sweet Home" as it's subtitled and found in IMDB) at my local rental store expecting just what the cover and description on the back of the box promises - a good Chinese horror flick. Everything about the presentation of the movie promised a frightful 92 minutes, which at least the first 15 minutes of the movie provided. After that, however, is another (and fortunately much deeper)story.
The premise seems simple: A young family moves in to a nice, new apartment complex, when the mother begins to notice strange sounds and movements in the shadows. It all seems to fixate on her young son, finally resulting in the child's kidnapping by the monster in the walls. Shortly thereafter is when the horror ends. You are so exposed to the so-called Monster (played wonderfully by Kar Yan Lam) and her story that she soon loses all her fright-factor, instead becoming a pitiable figure you feel sympathy for as well as repulsion from. While there is a sense of tension for what will happen to the young mother and her child, it's certainly not the kind of white-knuckle fright expected from Asian horror these days.
The movie bills itself as a Horror Drama, but it'd be far more honest to call it a drama with elements of suspense and horror. As previously stated, the Monster uses up most of her ability to horrify early on, and the movie does not resort to cheap startle-thrills to get you scared. Despite a few 'ew' moments, it also steers clear of turning your stomach. See that picture on the cover of the mother staring horrified through glass as the monster sews herself up? That's not actually in the movie, and you won't find much like it in the movie either.
But don't let a little thing like lack of real horror scare you off of what really is a good movie about what a mother will do for her child. May, the mother of little kidnapped Chi Lo, may not be a sudden genius tracker and hand-to-hand combat expert, but she is a real woman with a brain and a real sense of desperation about her as she struggles to reclaim her son. Chi Lo steals your heart within the first few minutes of air time, and proves there is definitely more to him than a plot device to spur on both May and the Monster. And finally, the real draw to this movie is the Monster herself. She's much more than a simple movie-spook, she's a genuine feeling character in her own right, and to say more would just ruin the fun.
So the bottom line is, don't be fooled by the packaging - if you're just looking for a scare, this is not the movie for you. But if you don't mind a little scare and would like to see a human drama with a definite twist to the telling, The Monster might just be the movie for you."
A Very Good Chinese Thriller: Drama Not Horror!
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 12/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like this film. As the reviewer below has written; it is not a horror film, but more of a drama-thriller. The films narrative follows the lives of a family: husband, wife and child, who have just moved into a new apartment complex. The mother begins to notice that all is not well in their new abode. She sees shadows and hears strange sounds in the walls of their new place. Finally, their young child, a boy, is kidnapped. The mother fears that a 'Monster' in the walls has taken her child. The Monster [for want of a better term] is actually a traumatized young woman, portrayed by (Kar Yan Lam) and she gives a very sympathetic and sad portrayal of her character. Kar Yan Lam is also a very talented and outstanding actress.
It seems that there is more to the life of this 'Monster' and the new apartment complex than meets the eye. The horror factor in the beginning of the film takes on a new twist, as the life of this so-called 'Monster' takes on an an added dimension. Why has she abducted the child? And where has she taken the child to? There is something about her past [no spoilers] As the viewer, you begin to pity this woman when her life's story is shown through flashbacks. And as the previous viewer has noted in her review, the film is about drama with suspense thrown into the film. However, The mother of the young kidnapped boy is resolute in trying to discover the whereabouts of her young child: And she is very determined; no matter what the odds or terror involved, in tracking her child down.
Determined to find her son, the mother frantically searches everywhere in the apartment complex to find him. No place is off limits as far as this mother is concerned. The film is very well done and worth the purchase. However, if you are not sure, rent it first. I am surprised that there is only one other review of this film. I bought this along with the 'Thai' film, "Shutter," another very good film [though not listed on amazon] several months ago. I recommend the film highly, it is a very good watch, and the films story is very sad. There is more to the film than just suspense. It is an unfolding drama which is sad and suspenseful at the same time. Highly recommended."