Dennis Yu's filmography includes films like the pretty unknown (and rare in its fully uncut version) rape and revenge shocker THE BEASTS aka FLESH AND THE BLOODY TERROR (1980) and the more traditional ghost story THE IMP (1981). His EVIL CAT (1986) is written by the exploitation king and money maker Wong Jing and fortunately he hasn't managed to destroy the film and it is easily among the better films of Yu.
The veteran Hong Kong director and actor Lau Kar Leung plays Master Cheung who suffers from cancer. His ancestors have told him that a deadly and evil cat demon possesses their family and the world and that it has nine lives and has to be killed by every new son in the generation until all the "lives" have been killed. The demon is now some 400 years old. Cheung however doesn't have a son, just a beautiful reporter daughter played by Lai-Ying Tang. She gets to know Long (played by Mark Cheng, the psychopath in Ivan Lai's sleaze fest PEEPING TOM (1997)) and soon her father decides to teach Long how to kill the cat once and for all. They get also a police inspector Wu's interest because their magic spells and other strange goings-on don't necessarily obey the law and be completely harmless all the time. Wu is played by Wong Jing himself and he is also the only irritating character in the film and still he could be much worse. What I'm trying to say is that the film isn't nearly as "comical" and full of slapstick it could be when Wong was involved in it and that is a huge positive thing.
The film is nicely atmospheric and has great and simple effects that work the better the more viewer understands the genre and its merits. The film also has surprisingly strong lead characters (Long and the daughter) and so they are closer to real and feeling people, not just empty characters. The dialogue is pretty bad like usually in these films, but it is easy to be forgiven since the real merits can be found elsewhere in the film. Still these films would be so much more if they just wanted to make better scripts and concentrate more on the dialogue and characters in general, too.
EVIL CAT is also surprisingly straight forward film and never becomes boring or slow. It has plenty of action, spells and other horror mayhem and also some gore that gets also nearly surrealistic in some cases. The "lift massacre" is a good example of that and looks little like the similar effect in Kubrick's THE SHINING (1980). EVIL CAT is a sympathetic and pretty likeable horror film that knows its limits and never tries to reach too high goal. 8/10
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