“Coffin Homes” revolves around Hong Kong’s housing problems caused by the lack of space and sky high property prices. “Hong Kong’s property prices are so expensive that they are out of reach to most people. This is what the film is trying to say,” Chan said in a statement.
The film and its subject matter expand on Chan’s social realist depictions of Hong Kong’s grassroots life and anxieties over the city’s future, expressed through his iconic debut “Made in Hong Kong” to horror drama “Dumplings.” His oeuvre has also included horror sci-fi “The Midnight After” and the controversial drama “Three Husbands.”
Chan said he chose the black comedy treatment in order to portray Hong Kong people’s desperation and hysteria due to the city’s housing problems. “Some citizens are so desperate that they would rather buy a haunted apartment at an affordable price and share a home with a ghost than not owning one. I want to show the insanity of this situation, and I hope audiences will share the same feeling,” Chan said.
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The film’s English-language title is a joke with a double meaning. While the film depicts people choosing to live in haunted properties, many Hong Kong residential properties have become so small that people joke about living in a coffin. The Chinese title “Living With Ghosts” comes from a colloquial Cantonese expression.
First teaser trailers unveiled on Wednesday showed that “Coffin Homes,” written and directed by Chan, revives the tricks often seen in the horror comedy genre that once dominated Hong Kong cinema in the 1980s. Parts of some gruesome images from the trailers had to be covered up before they could be shown in public areas.
The film stars Tai Bo (“Suk Suk”), Cheung Tat-ming (the Dragon Loaded film series), Loletta Lee (“Ordinary Heroes”) and Susan Shaw (“Gallants”).