Starring: Karena Lam, Lee Sinje and Andy Yu
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 25 July 2005

After acting as bridesmaid for a friend's wedding, Ching stumbles across a mutilated dead body at the hotel, and witnesses a young woman near the scene. When she sees her again the police are informed. The woman is picked out at an identity parade but later released. It turns out the body was the latest victim of a serial killer who removes a kidney. Ching herself requires an urgent kidney transplant to lead a normal life. The woman begins to hound Ching, following her and phoning to ask, "If I am the killer, when should I come round and remove your kidney?" When Ching finally confronts her, she learns that the woman loves Ching's boyfriend (with whom she had an affair) and is jealous of Ching. The two become uneasy friends, the woman even accompanying Ching on a rendezvous with the killer for her much needed kidney. But is Ching's new-found friend everything she pretends to be...?

Although Angelica Lee (Ching) was in the superbly creepy film The Eye (one of my top dozen favourite films), Koma is very much a thriller, as opposed to a horror.

Yes, there's blood in abundance, an axe-wielding scene, and lighteningly-quick flashes of premonition, but this example proves to be essentially a study of relationships and jealousy (a sort of menage a trois) set upon the background of a police procedural. So, although Koma doesn't contain the eerie atmosphere of recent classic Japanese films (this one is Cantonese) it does hold your interest and carry you along with events like a good thriller should.

The acting is good (except perhaps for the police, who are a little bland as characters), and the woman described in the synopsis above is very attractive, which certainly helps make her slightly psychotic green-eyed monster of jealousy more convincing. Her character has only her looks and sex appeal, and has had to fight for everything in her life. The music is also used to good effect and heightens the viewer's tension.

Extras include a director's commentary, a pretty unexciting 'Making of' featurette, and a trailer. On the whole another competent release from Tartan Asia Extreme.

Ty Power

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