Daughter of Darkness (滅門慘案之孽殺) (1993)
A young woman named Fong (Lily Chung) is constantly and violently abused by her family. When her family are murdered, Inspector Lui (Anthony Wong) is put on the case. A suspect is brought in and brutally interigated but Liu suspects the seemingly innocent Fong might be behind it all.
Daughter of Darkness is one of the most nortorious Cat III films ever made and it’s reputation is well deserved. The film is full of sick humour, sex and plenty of gore and bloodshed. Overall, the film is entertaining and unlike many other Cat III films, it doesn’t eroticise the more shocking scenes too much. However the film is rather uneven in tone starting as a comedy and ending as a full on exploitation slasher.
The first half of the film follows Lui as he investigates the murder of Fong’s family. As usual with Anthong Wong, his character is a total sleeze bag who, among other things, poses for a photo with a corpse, gropes a dead woman’s breast and spies on Fong having sex. These scenes are mostly amusing in a wacky Hong Kong comedy kinda way, but not overly hysterical. As always, Anthony Wong is great as the sleezy cop and no one in Hong Kong cinema could have played the role a well as he does.
The second half of the film turns into exploitation mode as we learn about Fong’s history and what she has suffered at the hands of her family. In a series of unsettling flashbacks, Fong is abused by her mother, siblings and father. The abuse escalates and eventually her father drunkenly rapes her. After she tells her mother about this, her mother is outraged and yet somehow Dad smooths it over and ends up seducing her! What?!!(!).
By the end of the film, Fong has gone through so much abuse that you can’t help but feel sorry for her. Lily Chung brings a vulnerable innocence to her portrail of Fong and you find yourself cheering her on when she eventually gets revenge on her family. Indeed the films final scenes are very violent and gory and there’s even a semi-decent fight between her father and Fong’s boyfriend. Despite this, the ending feels somewhat anti-climatic as you’ve already seen the dead bodies in the first half of the film, so you know exactly what to expect.
Overall, Daugher of Darkness is a fun gory film. The shift in tone after the first half is a bit jarring and the scenes of abuse towards Fong are really quite unpleasant, but it makes up for it with some excellent performances by Anthony Wong and Lily Chung and a great ending. Of course, the film isn’t for everyone – it features tons of gratuitous sex, rape, gore and violence – but do you really expect anything less from a Cat III film?