Nobody quite does graphic satirical horror like the Chinese (well maybe the Japanese. And the Koreans.)
‘Dream Home’ follows the story of Cheng Li-sheung as she looks to finally invest in her dream home. A home that she has wanted since she was a little girl. A home that she promised to her gran and papa. A home that will make everything okay. We all know what happens with best laid plans though. The deal falls through as the sellers want more money. At her wits end, and her obsession with owning the flat pushed to breaking point, Li-sheung embarks on a horrific killing spree in order to bring the price of the flat down.
Very dark stuff.
When watching the film I was reminded of these words of Jesus: “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul”. There are a number of translations and interpretations of these words. What exactly does it mean to gain the world? What does it mean to forfeit/lose your soul/life?
For me, to lose your soul/ life, means to lose what it means to be human. To become sub-human. To lose the essence of your humanity.
Desmond Tutu once said; “We can be human only in fellowship, in community, in koinonia, in peace.” So when we distort that fellowship, when we break it down through the abuse or murder of other humans, we become less than human.
If you can stomach it, Cheng Li-sheungs journey is the journey of losing her soul. For her, a possession becomes more important than the life of others: both strangers and family members. The potential flat holds so many hopes and dreams. She thinks it will be the answer to all her problems. And we can’t really blame her for thinking that. The culture around her has pushed this idea on to her. Now obviously what she does we cannot condone but we can understand how she gets to this place of desperation.
And she gets what she wants. With the blood of eleven people on her hands: she gets what she wants. And in the final moments of the film, after moving into the flat, she hears on the radio of the economic meltdown and the housing collapse. It has all been futile. the flat she has just bought is now worth less than half what she paid for it. A satirical final moment in this modern day parable.
What do we long to possess? What do we think will make our lives better? And what are we willing to do to get it? Where do these narratives and messages come from and how can we stand up against them?
Pressing questions in the world we find ourselves in right now.