Abracadabra (HK 1986)

Rating: **
Review Date: 1/15/12
Producer: Dean Shek
Director: Peter Mak
Cast: Anne Bridgewater, Charine Chan, Mark Cheng, Peter Mak, cameo by Fennie Yuen (?)

While I loathe Hong Kong comedies, I have a certain fondness for Anne Bridgewater. Unfortunately, her charms are sorely wasted in this film, as she suffers from an unflattering haircut and a downright embarrassing wardrobe. The ghost of a dancer named Pinkish Red and her undead followers are sealed away in a mirror by a team of Taoist ninja. Six years later, two young women named Cici and Lily (Charine Chan and Anne Bridgewater) find the mirror and install it in the dressing room of their boutique. Strange things start happening, and the ghost of Pinkish Red takes a liking to Cici. She steals Cici away to the land of the dead, and her friends (including a young Mark Cheng) have to travel to the afterlife in order to rescue her.

Like most HK comedies, this one is a chore to endure. Peter Mak's surreal direction gives the film a distinctive look, and the supernatural sequences are nicely executed. We learn that ghosts are made up of radio waves, and that hair dryers can disrupt those waves and dispel spirits. How convenient that Cheng Sheng (Mark Cheng) and his buddy Rambo are hair stylists that work in the same mall as Cici and Lily. Pinkish Red is super sexy, and I couldn't get enough of watching her strut around and make scary faces. There's also a sexy zombie bride (reportedly Fennie Yuen) who chases Peter Mak's character throughout the film as a recurring gag. Anne Bridgewater does a fine job as a frumpy and prudish bookworm, but she's underutilized and capable of so much more. The comedy is deplorable, and most of the film revolves around Cheng and Rambo trying to steal kisses from the girls. Pretty standard fare for the time period.