Ah, Hong Kong fashion! I see about a half-dozen Canto-language teen flicks a year, and although they often tend to be more bad than good, I always look forward to the opportunity they provide to catch up on what’s hot on the streets of HK at the time of production. Dating Death proved to be particularly helpful in this regard, with every one of the six main characters getting about ten costume changes (including towels) — each new ‘ensemble’ trendier than the last. Unusually though, the style found in Dating Death’s wardrobe department carries over to the rest of the film as well, so everybody (not just those who dig on the clothing angle) can enjoy what’s on offer here.
Some dodgy CG aside, this is a fairly slick little effort; for a horror film, the whole thing is pretty tongue-in-cheek (Heman the magician!?!), although director Herman Yau thankfully never resorts to genre-parody for laughs. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing scary in the entire 98 minute running time (except maybe the account given for the killer’s behaviour, which is far more disturbing than the behaviour itself), and even the bloodier moments are in keeping with the comedic tone of proceedings. The score, too, is a great deal of fun, with the incessant screaming on the soundtrack (particularly noticeable at the most inappropriate times) used to great effect.
As the characters start to disappear, the film slows down into way too much talking as those left stand about and point fingers at one another, and the climax is a confused mess of endless staircase chase sequences, but otherwise Dating Death works rather well, thanks to some high energy direction (plenty of camera movement) and a good looking cast with reasonable comic timing. Worth a look, even if the garments on show will be out of fashion some time in the next… hour or so!