Fatal Visit Review: The Title Is The Most Exciting Part In This Inert Mystery Thriller, Starring Sammie Cheng, Charlene Choi

They should’ve called this ‘Frustrating Visit’ instead.

Fatal Visit (PG13)

Starring Sammie Cheng, Charlene Choi, Tong Dawei

Directed by Poon Yuen-Leung

After ending a toxic relationship, dancer Yanny (Charlene Choi, still acting cute-ish) drops in on childhood pal Ling (Sammi Cheng), a Hongkong migrant leading a charmed life in San Jose, California (home of the Winchester Mystery House!), who seems to have everything — a rich husband (Tong Dawei), a lake house, and a baby on the way. 

But look closer: Ling’s American Dream isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Cue ominous music. 

Despite its very ’90s Skinemax-y, Category III-sounding title, Fatal Visit is incredibly meh, a mystery-suspense thriller that isn’t very mysterious, suspenseful or thrilling. The main problem (fatal flaw?) is its non-linear structure that shows its hands too soon, after which everything comes undone. It has something to say about immigration blues and infidelity, but it doesn’t resonate. 

The movie — based on a Candace Chong’s acclaimed 2009 play Murder in San Jose — had a protracted production: it wrapped in 2018, and got further delayed by the COVID-19 crisis. 

One would think the filmmakers would take this time to iron out the kinks. It doesn’t look like they did. And if they did, is this the best they could come up with?

So what you’re left with is Cheng losing her s*** in a few scenes to snap you out of the ennui. Chances are you’ll go unhinged as well by the time the end credits roll. That’s if you make it that far. (**)

Photo: MM2 Entertainment

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