Ab-Normal Beauty (2004)

Oxide Pang, one-half of the famous Pang Brothers, delivers this shockingly beautiful psychological thriller out of Hong Kong. Jiney is a young art student who becomes obsessed with death after capturing a fatal car accident on film. Her subject matter continues to grow increasingly morbid, but she is not the only one harboring dark fantasies and desires. AB-NORMAL BEAUTY is filled with extraordinary colors and artful framing, as Pang adapts the photographic medium into his shooting style through a number of stunning compositions. Race Wong is simply intoxicating as Jiney, drawing the audience into her deepening psychosis with a staggering performance and seductive charm. After a brilliant build-up, the film takes an unexpected turn when it places Jiney in front of the camera as she is attacked by a sadistic killer. While this drastic change in tone plays into the overall theme, it derails much of the suspense and anticipation developed early on. Pang also uses an obnoxious musical score where subtle cues would have proven much more effective. AB-NORMAL BEAUTY proves to be a fitting title for this gorgeous and unsettling thriller.

Rating: 8/10.

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  1. I quite liked this, but you're spot on Carl, with your comment about the destabilising effect the plot takes into the realm of torture and sadism. That said, there is still plenty here of interest.

  2. Absolutely, I was blown away by this one, I had passed it over so many times due to the bland cover on the R1 release, but I hope more people discover it in the coming years!