Source: SupChina (7/29/22)
The not-so-scary truth behind horror sensation ‘Incantation’
Audiences are raving about Taiwan’s newest horror film “Incantation,” which just hit international Netflix this month. Exactly how real are the religious elements at the center of the movie?
By Emma Burleigh
This month, the Taiwanese film Incantation (咒 zhòu) hit international Netflix: a found-footage horror movie following the experiences of a cursed woman — and the consequences of the curse. Viewers were quick to hype up the film, daring others online to try and sit through the whole thing.
Since its premiere in March, the movie has become the highest grossing Taiwanese horror film of all time, and Taiwan’s highest grossing film of 2022. Incantation also finds itself at the center of a debate on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. The hashtag “Is Incantation scary?” (咒吓人吗 zhòu xiàrén ma) has garnered millions of views. The ultimate consensus: not that scary, but still worth watching.
Something feels different with Incantation. Directed by Kevin Ko, the movie interacts with its viewers. The protagonist, Ronan (Tsai Hsuan-yen [蔡亘晏 Cài Gènyàn]), leads the audience through mind exercises, directing chants to be spoken. By the end of the movie, you feel like you’ve been tricked. Maybe cursed.
The movie is set around Ronan’s curse after she breaks a religious taboo while ghost-hunting in Yunnan province. Ronan and her two friends visit a remote village practicing an extreme form of Buddhism. They become wrapped up in a local ritual, unknowingly binding themselves to Dahei Mother Buddha.