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Lucid Dreams

Opening Date
01 Nov 2018
PG13 Horror
91 mins
Mandarin - subtitles to be advised
Horror, Thriller
Teddy Robin Kwan
Steven Tang, Louis Cheung, Kevin Cheng, Dada Chan
The movie is about four of the director’s dreams: Don wanted to repay his debt by holding a fake wedding; white collar Fan learned how to let go of his ego after his struggle in love and work; writer Tong reunited with her long-lost mother but their love could not be continued; coach driver Chung was inspired by four ‘ghost ladies’ and became confident again about his talent in music.
By Jason Lin  05 Nov 2018
Lucid Dreams explores an uncomfortable territory outside of film scores and acting.
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Many would recall Hong Kong’s Teddy Robin Kwan from 2010’s Gallants for his performance and score in that film. Kwan presents his latest directorial feature Lucid Dreams where he explores an uncomfortable territory outside of film scores and acting.
Piecing four horror short stories together as an anthology might sound easy on paper. Genre fans would recall 2004’s Three… Extremes and 2008’s 4bia as capable examples. Lucid Dreams reveals the importance of strong and coherent storytelling through its lack of it.
Basing each of its four chapters on various human emotions (Happiness, Anger, Sorrow, Joy) is a remarkable premise. Kwan opens his film with a monologue of how films were depicted as dreams crafted by filmmakers where they would define their filmmakers. Lucid Dreams could be a reflection of Kwan’s dreams that might not be appreciated by many.
With the first chapter depicting a twist at a fake wedding celebration, to the second chapter about an antagonised office worker having a twilight zone moment after being abused by his boss. The third chapter delved deeper into the dark past of a novelist who moved back to her childhood home in hope of seeking answers to her questionable life, before concluding with a night bus drive through rural roads to instill question marks in the audience’s minds.
Each chapter could best be described as half-baked nightmares that sadly didn’t mean much within and across Lucid Dreams. It might also translate as Kwan’s personal production in an attempt to portray certain aspects of his current life that would likely be appreciated by few.
Taking a look closer into the mediocrity, there were still some quality bits observed and appreciated. The third chapter allowed Hong Kong actress Stephy Tang, who shone in Chapman To’s The Empty Hands last year as part of her resolve to be a serious actress, to further explore her performance range.
Kudos to technical values in the form of lighting and soundtrack that evoked the right emotions when deployed. Particularly the third chapter where Tang’s character navigates her aged childhood mansion in the middle of the night, as the audience followed unnervingly.
As the film concludes with a jaw-dropping song and dance number at the end of the final chapter, viewers eventually find themselves desperately trying to wake from a puzzled nightmare crafted by Kwan in the form of the 91-minute Lucid Dreams.
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