Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Film Review: The Fairy Tale Killer (2012)

The Fairy Tale Killer (Review)
China/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...you won't lose any sleep if you skip it."

Jun (Wang Baoqiang) stumbles into police custody and confesses to murders that he has not committed... yet.

The Fairy Tale Killer follows police detective Han (Sean Lau) and his crew after Jun is released from custody and warned about falsifying a police report. Soon after his release, Jun's confessed murders begin to occur, all sharing a common fairy tale theme. In the meantime, the story tries to blend family drama with Han, his loving wife, and their autistic son -- it doesn't work. It reaches a decent climax, but the ending is unsatisfactory. The film makes it seem like something big and jaw-dropping is occurring, but it's really bland and even somewhat incoherent.

Fairy Tale Killer is a thriller-mystery film, with some horror and drama. There are some decent thrills spread throughout the film, and the mystery is at least somewhat interesting and engaging. The horror, however, is ineffective; it's a handful of mediocre jump-scares and some bloody visuals. Even more disappointing is the pointless and ineffective drama. It's melodramatic and boring, and it adds nothing to the film's story; it's occasionally used to push the story forward (i.e. a plot contrivance), but it offers nothing else.

The acting ranges from bad to decent. Sean Lau is good, although the performance isn't very demanding. Wang Baoqiang, who is funny in Lost In Thailand, is disappointing; it looks like they were aiming for a Joker-style character, but Baoqiang delivers a one-note performance that grew old fast. Some of the supporting cast were also bland, and there was also quite a bit of overacting from some of the cast. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream are also mediocre -- the translation is riddled with bad grammar and spelling errors.

The film's music is bad and good; it often sounds out of place, but it'll sound good on its own. The film also looks decent -- some of the photography is too dark and muddy, but it's also distinct and even stylish, much like The Detective. Director Danny Pang, of the Pang Brothers, has a decent concept and interesting story, but flawed execution; the direction seems unsure and unfocused, trying to blend different genres that can't seem to compliment each other.

Overall, The Fairy Tale Killer offers a few thrills, some suspense, and an interesting mystery. Unfortunately, the story is a mess, especially the ineffective and unnecessary drama elements, and the ending is underwhelming. The acting and direction are also hit-and-miss. If you're looking for something to kill and hour and a half, and if you're a fan of Sean Lau or the creative concept, this might be somewhat enjoyable. Otherwise, you won't lose any sleep if you skip it.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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