Issue #287         HOME          E-mail:        BACK ISSUES          October 31st, 2005

Daughter of Darkness
(1993; Mandarin Films)

Cantonese: Mit moon chaam on ji yip saat
Mandarin: Mie men can an zhi nie sha
English: Destroy Household Tragic Case: Sinful Killing

  RATING: 3/10


This infamous Category III thriller from director Ivan Lai Kai-ming (THE IMP) is a decidedly distasteful mixture of low-brow humor and protracted sexual violence. Set in China, it tells of the police investigation into the brutal murder of the Mak family, as reported by its only surviving member, Mak Wei-fong (Lily Chung Suk-wai). Captain Lui (Anthony Wong Chau-sang), an uncouth but competent detective, deduces that the crime must have been committed by Wei-fong's boyfriend, Kin (Hugo Ng Toi-yung), a fellow policeman. With his back against the wall, Kin confesses, only to have Wei-fong insist that she is the true killer. When Kin's account of the murders does not add up, Lui realizes that Wei-fong is indeed the actual culprit. The second half of the film is an extended flashback, which documents the horrific sexual abuse Wei-fong suffered at the hands of her psychopathic stepfather (William Ho Kar-kui) and the resulting breakdown that led her to kill him and her other relatives.

Lily Chung Suk-wai William Ho Kar-kui (left), Anthony Wong Chau-sang

The "mystery" is agonizingly transparent and the process through which Lui comes to his conclusion is dull in the extreme. Things get bogged down even further by Lui's alleged sense of humor, which makes the sexual antics in the ng fook sing movies seem like Shakespearean farce in comparison. The rest is merely ugly, and made even more unpalatable by the grotesque characters (the father may be the real malefactor but the rest of the Mak family is just as unappetizing). A surprise hit, this spawned two wholly unnecessary sequels: BROTHER OF DARKNESS and DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS II. The former would again pair up Lily Chung and Hugo Ng (who would later become husband and wife off-screen) as the troubled lovers, and tap William Ho to portray yet another seething psycho. Money Lo Man-yee (wife of producer/co-writer Kimmy Suen King-on) also appears as Lui’s by-the-book assistant, and HARD BOILED can be heard playing in the background of an early scene.

Lily Chung Suk-wai (left), Hugo Ng Toi-yung Anthony Wong Chau-sang (left), Lily Chung Suk-wai


HK censors made several cuts to the film prior to its theatrical release in 1993, and the subsequent Ocean Shores tape and disc releases featured this version. As sometimes happens with HK video re-issues, this newer edition is more complete, though it is clearly not an accident in this case. The restored bits have been lifted from a lesser print source and, while the film now flows somewhat better, it still remains choppy in spots and is not improved to any great extent. There are also still a few shots missing, including at least one that was in the Ocean Shores transfer (which also runs slightly longer). Rough bits aside, the presentation looks very good and the audio is decent (though a random check of the Mandarin track revealed it to be way out-of-sync during an interrogation sequence). No extras are included.

Money Lo Man-yee (center) Anthony Wong Chau-sang

This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Company. To read captions, hover mouse over image.

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Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2005. All Rights Reserved.


- Hong Kong Release

NTSC – Region 0

Universe Laser & Video Co. Ltd. #DVD 5396

Dolby Digital 2.0

Post-synced Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language

Subtitles (Optional): English, Traditional & Simplified Chinese

8 Chapters

4:3 Letterbox (1.88:1)

90 Minutes


- Australia: R 18+

- Hong Kong: III

- Ontario: R (initial version with additional cuts)

- Quebec: 16+

- Singapore: BANNED

- Contains brutal violence, sexual violence, nudity, coarse language, and crude content

10 A Masterpiece
9 Excellent
8 Highly Recommended
7 Very Good
6 Recommended
5 Marginal Recommendation
4 Not Recommended
3 Poor
2 Definitely Not Recommended
1 Dreadful