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Film / Home Sweet Home (2005)

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Home Sweet Home is a 2005 Hong Kong horror / drama film directed by Cheang Pou-soi, starring Karena Lam, Shu Qi, Alex Fong and Lam Suet.

Alex Fong and Shu Qi plays a married couple from a young, happy family from downtown Hong Kong, who moved to a newly-constructed apartment block established barely a few years ago after a massive government-sponsored renovation project. Consisting of Raymond, an architect (Alex), his wife May (Shu) and their young son, the relatively new family intends to start a new life in the big city, but trouble occurs when an urban legend of a "mysterious creature" haunting the apartment's basement surfaces. And then, shortly after moving in, the son witnessed something crawling through the vents of the house...

When the couple's young son gets abducted during a birthday party, and the husband, Raymond, gets critically injured by the mysterious creature, it's up to May to get back her son at all costs, and in the process, uncover the horrifying truth about the apartment's backstory.


Do not confuse this with the 80s slasher flick, Home Sweet Home. Yeah, they're both horror-themed, but this one's more towards the drama factor.

Home Sweet Home contain examples of:

  • Air-Vent Passageway: The "monster" actually Yim Hung moves around the apartment block by travelling through the vents. Later on, in order to find her son, May had to crawl through another air vent.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Yim Hung, who commits suicide after realizing she had ruined a happy family by kidnapping a child to replace her deceased son.
  • Angry Guard Dog: After her son's kidnapping, May secretly bought a trained Dobermann and had the animal hidden in the same courtyard where the "monster" allegedly lurks. Said Dobermann managed to attack and bite off a finger from the "monster".
  • Apathetic Citizens: The apartment's residents are indifferent towards Raymond and May's plight towards their son's kidnapping.
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  • Arc Words: Repeated from May, the film's Mama Bear:
    Son: "Mom, would you abandon me?"
    May: "Of course not, not even if you abandon me."
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: The rooftop confrontation between the two increasingly delirious mothers ends with May slapping Yim-Hung across the face. It's enough to make the mad woman snap out of her trance and realize how low she had sunk for trying to steal another woman's son to replace her own.
  • Barefoot Loon: The "monster" lurking in the basement actually a mentally insane human woman goes around barefoot.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The "monster", in a final act of despair, had commited suicide by jumping off a balcony. But although May had retrieved her son, her child no longer recognizes her even as she hugs him, leading to the Ironic Echo where she assures her child she will never abandon him even if he abandoned her. Cue credits. (Although it's very likely the boy will re-remember his family after some extensive therapy sessions after the film's events...)
  • Cassandra Truth: When the young son claimed he saw "something" crawling in the vents, Raymond simply remarks that they've just recently moved in and the boy is only stressed out due to the experience. Then all hell breaks loose when the "something" turns out to be a mentally insane woman who wants the child for herself.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Sort of justified, given the setting being in the mid-2000s before phones are a commonplace.
  • Cue the Rain: The rain happens when May's young son gets abducted, and happens again at the end when May confronts Yim-Hung on the apartment's balcony. The latter scene leads to the Redemption in the Rain moment.
  • Death of a Child: Yim Hung's son died shortly after her husband, leading to her insanity slowly developing.
  • Deceptively Silly Title: Yeah, the title makes it sound like a drama, doesn't it?
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Yim Hung's flashback which is set in the 90s is played over a brown filter. The footage sticks out looking like it's from a VHS, while the rest of the film looks like it's filmed in the mid-2000s (because it is).
  • Died Happily Ever After: Yim Hung during her Disney Villain Death scene. She smiled before taking the plunge off the balcony, to be reunited with her deceased husband and son.
  • Distressed Dude: Raymond, May's husband, who gets ambushed and stabbed by the "monster" while searching for his son, ends up getting hospitalized and then quickly written out of the picture. For the rest of the film, it's Mama Bear May going through hell trying to rescue her missing child.
  • Evil Counterpart: May and Yim Hung, the supposed "monster" haunting the apartment blocks. Both of them are mothers who lose their only child, and are desperate to the point of insanity to save their child. Only the latter ends up stooping to kidnapping the only child of the former because her biological son is dead.
  • Facial Horror: Yim-Hung, after losing her family in the flashback. In a near-zombified state, she preps a meal for her (now non-existing family), tries to open a can of meat, but without a can opener she had to resort to using her teeth instead. There are sharp edges on the sides of the can, which ends up slicing half her face giving her an uncomfortable-looking Glasgow Grin.
  • Hallucinations: Yim-Hung sees hallucinations of her deceased husband telling her to "let go", reminding her she's in the wrong for abducting a child and ruining a happy family, even if it was to replace her own.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Played straight with May's young son.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: May, after seeing her son being taken by the "monster", desperately runs after them right into the heavily-raining courtyard. She lose both her shoes in her haste, and dashed all the way outside while barefoot in a valiant attempt to get her son back, until she ends up slipping and skinning both her kneecaps, which is shown bleeding in a later scene.
  • Mama Bear: May, who will go through hell and back to retrieve her kidnapped son. And as it turns out, the "monster" haunting in the basement, turns out to be another tragic mother as well, who targets May's little boy after the death of her child years ago.
  • Missing Child: Imagine moving into a new, high-rise apartment with your family, in an unfamiliar environment, and then losing your only child a week later. May and Raymond knows!
  • New House, New Problems: After a family from downtown Hong Kong, consisting of the father Raymond, the wife May, and their only son moves to a new high-rise apartment block in the outskirts, they end up being targeted by a sinister, mysterious entity who wants their son. Although in this case, there's no supernatural elements at work - the stalker is an insane woman, Yim-Hung, who lose her family years ago and roams the new apartment block as what the residents assume was a monster of an urban legend.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: When May's little boy rejects his mother, to follow Yim-Hung instead, after becoming sympathetic towards the "monster". The sheer horror in the poor mother's eyes is genuine.
  • Police Are Useless: Absolutely. After May's little boy gets abducted in broad daylight, their response is to sloppily conduct some interviews, seal up the apartment, and simply keep their asses in the sidelines while poor May becomes increasingly delirious over her missing child. The officer in charge being Sergeant Lo the Fat Idiot doesn't really help.
  • Redemption in the Rain: Yim Hung snapping out of her trance happens while in the rain, when she realized she had unintentionally ruined a happy family's life, as she is confronted by May on the apartment's balcony. What follows is a Redemption Equals Death moment for the former.
  • Sanity Slippage: During Yim Hung's flashback, after losing her husband and her son, within the span of two days. The audience sees her losing bits and pieces of her mind as she trudges along her daily life seemingly in a trance, and is completely unresponsive after accidentally slashing her face open...
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Implied reason to why May's son, after being kidnapped by Yim Hung, ultimately ends up rejecting his own mother to follow the mad woman.
  • Tragic Villain: Yim-Hung, a mad woman who was the subject of a child-abducting urban legend, turns out to be a victim from the slums' eviction during the apartment's construction years ago. Who became insane after the death of her family, ultimately turning her into a supposed "monster" who is willing to steal another child to replace her own.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The film's trailer tries to sell it as a typical horror film in the vein of The Eye, when in actuality the film is closer to a drama with the horror downplayed.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: Yim-Hung's flashback of her past which is set in the late 90s, where her entire family, living in the slums, gets evicted because of the new Hong Kong high-rise apartment construction project, and subsequently her husband and son dying in an accident, turning her into the deranged monster she is.
  • Walking Spoiler: The fact that the "monster" from a reoccurring local urban legend turns out to be a human woman, Yim Hung, who lose her family due to the government's eviction of the slums during the apartment's construction, isn't made clear until the last half hour of the film.
  • Wild Hair: Yim Hung's default hairstyle.