By - FancyJackfruit7959
I am Southeast Asian. My main cultural background is not Chinese, but my whole life I have lived alongside Chinese folks who still hold Traditional Chinese folk beliefs.
Im also a huge fan of horror, and have watched many movies so i thought of myself as somewhat a seasoned veteran of this genre. Boy, this movie challenged that.
Plot wise, I would agree that its not the best.
The main characters are also way too dumb. At times i found it laughable, theres small chance any real person from the same cultural background would stubbornly ignore all those taboo rules like that (>!The group insisting Ronan to carry on despite being politely asked to leave, sneaking out when they were ordered to stay in, interrupting the ceremony, kicking down the cave seal, cutting through the seal garment and delving deeper into the cavern to uncover the mother buddha's face. Seriously guys?!<)
There also the part where the story incorporates too much creep factors like adding >!trypophobia, narrow corridors, driving in circles!< which i felt was trying to force the viewers to the limit of discomfort but made it easy to see through. It reminded me of >!Hideo Kojima's PT demo & Taiwanese game Devotion!<
That being said, I truly wonder about the people in a previous thread who didnt find it scary, whether they have any proximity or direct experience with the culture and religious rituals displayed in the movie.
Its so culturally relevant that my Chinese Buddhist friend refused to watch past 15 minutes because of the hand position Ronan used to chant. Meanwhile, I sat through the movie extremely creeped out and needed a while to recover from the heavy atmosphere and cultural imagery im familiar with.
So many things they did right with the atmosphere. The messed up altar spaces, the creepy isolated village compound, the rituals, the chants and eventually discovering its meaning. I found this aspect very well done and utilized to its maximum potential.
What i found really top tier tho, was >!Breaking the fourth wall to force the viewer to mentally repeat the chant, the retina burn effect of the Mother Buddha's seal, the main character revealing that she had deceived the viewers.!<. I cant recall any other horror movies (especially FF horrors) that does this. Calling the viewers involvement made it so immersive, almost like a horror game. Its so personally involving, I saw a post on r/islam of a person sharing very strong opinions about these aspects.
Overall, the positive aspects i found of this film outweigh the bad sides. Ive not been this scared watching horror in a while (which i guess is strongly influenced by my cultural proximity to the ones displayed on the film). I would say its in the same tier of The Medium and Lake Mungo.
I saw the post on r/islam (I'm a Muslim too, and I'm really familiar with Asian cultures and religions) and honestly, the dude just freaked out really hard and felt insecure haha. It makes me think of some comments on Tiktok being like "HOW DO I BREAK THE CURSE HOW DO I BREAK THE CURSE I SAID THE INCANTATION, HELP"
The movie made such an excellent job at scaring the fuck out of religious people lol. We all have similar knowledge about rituals, curses, spirits, etc, even if they're not the same, from one religion to another.
If you're familiar with these cultural and religious elements, it'll get to you.
On the other hand, if you're, for example, a random atheist white guy, it won't have the same impact.
I found it really refreshing to watch a horror movie with Buddhism elements rather than the usual Christian stuff!
Btw I'm so glad they didn't give the Buddha mother a face, it was even creepier to see the void face thing
I’m Chinese and southeast Asian and I agree that part about them being from the same background and ignoring taboos. The 7th month ghost festival is widely carried out where I’m from and even coming from a Christian background, I know to avoid the offerings and take a different route. Even muslims know to respect and avoid messing with the rituals.
So when Dom’s father told Ronan it’s a family ritual and told her to leave. He was giving her a chance to escape. I know I would have. Even if not, I will respect an elder and take my leave. As Chinese, we tend to listen to our elders more than western counterparts. It just seemed so odd they are acting like rebellious teenagers. Even if one doesn’t believe it, the least you could do is respect it.
One thing that that left me wondering was not sure what happened to the villagers and how they felt about the whole thing.
And yep this movie creeped me out. I avoided looking at the screen when Ronan told her viewers to memorise the symbol and recite the incarnation.
Edit: watched the director’s explanation and realized most of the villagers died after Dom messed up the tunnel. I suddenly remembered Ronan going back to the village and saw bodies hanging on the ceiling with the incarnation writings on them.
Hey, can I ask what's with the hand position that made your friend refuse to watch the movie? Just curious
Well, my friend is a practicing buddhist so hes aware of the real hand positions people would use when praying.
I am not quite sure if the hand positions in the movie are real but basically, he felt that the reverse pose was very sketchy like it was shaped to spread/expel instead of to collect.
Added with other cues such as the fact that its a horror movie, the fact that Ronan asked viewers to chant along to something the viewers are not aware of, it freaked my friend out too much. My friend also happens to be quite superstitious, and all that stuff put him off from watching the rest.
As someone from a christian background, i would liken it as if the character was doing an inverse sign of the cross. Its not something most viewers would care about, but some practitioners would probably be sussed by that particular detail.
The original seal is called lotus seal which is about perseverance and being positive while being surrounded by negatives of life. Like lotus blooms in dirty water. If you invert it that becomes injecting negativity in a positive surrounding. That is what a curse is. Like a poison. No wonder your friend was creeped out.
Imagine a person asks you to chant something in latin while making a gesture for inverted cross. For Christians that will look really creepy.
Oh! While I was watching the movie I was creeped out to it esp as how it is a found footage style, so I can imagine how freaked out people who somewhat practice or experience the things aligned with it from the movie. It's acc interesting, thank you for explaining!
That’s exactly what I thought while watching this movie, “this is like a VR game”
Great review 👌👌
But She was trying to pass the curse to her daughter but midway through she starts regretting it and starts devising a plan to save Dodo and herself (Even if she couldn’t get pass it) she successfully passes the curse unto others so Dodo can live a less strained life where everyone shares the curse.
It starts with all the evil in the forbidden cave and village where the deity chooses her and the baby as sacrifices and curses them. From that moment on she can’t escape and gets overly traumatized after all the taboo and mambo jambo. After getting better she gets the little girl back and starts trying to pass the curse to her but realizes the curse can’t be broken and that it will affect everyone around you unless you share the incantation with countless others. From that moment on she tries to harm her daughter but can’t (as she feeds her), and realizes she regrets everything she’s done and devises a plan to save her which is what she is saying on the final video. Unsure if she will survive or not, she is also taken by the curse but we can see Dodo has recovered and is alive and well.
I really enjoyed this movie and the scenes although I think the jumpscares were not worth it and left me a cheap feeling. The movie is very well executed and the girl is super cute and you just don’t wish her to suffer any bad!
The POV theme about everything being seen as positive or negative is also a great standpoint as the mother is a very evil character that gets redeemed at the end. We getting the curse and seeing it as bad or wrong was a really cool thing as we are also responsible for saving the little girl but letting ourselves get the curse.
I don’t think at any point ever was she “passing the curse” to dodo. They were both already cursed.
A lil late but she did it when she told Dodo to write her name.
Before that, Dodo doesn't have an "official name" yet to offer it to Mother Buddha. So she's still immune to the curse. Weird shit start happened after Dodo got her name.
I just watched the movie and didn’t notice this! Thank you, very interesting
So many problems:
FF purity/integrity out the window
Maudlin, heavy-handed, on-the-nose dialogue
Pacing and editing issues
Worst of all, lack of originality in execution (a bunch of tropes from other FF/horror movies thrown together)
The only things going for it were some of the concepts, and production value.
bro it's a found footage film. The hell you talking about plot and pacing? It's suppose to be mixed and random. >!The whole point of the film is that 4th wall breaking at the end. Ms. Lee (or Li?) MADE this video herself. Her goal is for all of us (the audience) to see and share the curse so she and her daughter can survive.!<
I found the whole audience participation to be very non-trope-y.
The driving in loop scene is very scary
Its a "real" --as in reported by so called curse victims-- thing. One of effect of curse/supernatural many people report is going in circles while trying to reach some place important.
For me, i expected more than that. Not quite heavy as i think, seem kinda cheap overal and lack of characters build up.
Lack of characters build up and very little romance too. Zero black or LGBT representation. What's up with that?
I csnt tell if this is a joke or not
It's a joke
i hope you're joking
It has great production value that was completely torn apart due to it constantly needing to suck you out of the realism, which is odd because throughout the movie they are trying to almost do a sort of magic trick on the audience to make you feel like you’re being cursed, so then why add in all these cheap sound effects and bad overlay VFX. I don’t know, it wasn’t a bad movie, it just kept shooting itself in the foot despite having really solid actors and good sets.
Good set but kinda meh actors. I agree with the cheap sound effects tho. It could've been less subtle.
idk from the very start of the film where she asked viewers to recite it with her, i already had a feeling it was a curse? so the reveal had no impact 😔 i did feel abit hesitant to look at the statues face though. anyways ming was so cute
The statue only creeped me out because well holes. Other than that it was very obvious that it was a curse/definitely not a blessing
Does anyone know what the runes are for, the ones inscribed across their bodies? The movie doesn't explain it iirc.
"Runes" are essentially equivalent of "scriptures" and "incantations". Like old testament of bible is (originally) written in Hebrew, the original teachings of Buddhism which came from India is in a script called Brahmi. Its a real script : [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmi\_script](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brahmi_script). Some examples : [https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/religionwiki/images/f/f0/Ashoka1.JPG/revision/latest?cb=20100224105254](https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/religionwiki/images/f/f0/Ashoka1.JPG/revision/latest?cb=20100224105254). The underlying language could be Pali or Prakrit -- both are extant languages.
Now like Bible has verses (like Matthew 1:10), Buddhist teachings have Sutras. Unlike Bible, there are many esoteric and occult books/scriptures in some esoteric versions of Buddhism dedicated to obscure deities. So those runes are sutras. The reason to write it can be either to offer oneself to a deity or as a protection against some malevolent force. Like in some horror movies they show people covering themselves or their room with pages from bible to ward away evil forces. Its similar concept.
There are runes too, but they are shown in a different part of the movie. These are called Yantras in eastern occult practices which translate to "devices". These are basically geometric shapes which serve certain occult purposes like binding or warding or simply channeling. One example : [https://www.tattoo.com/wp-content/uploads/files/field/image/941695\_507922989273085\_1961978762\_n.jpg](https://www.tattoo.com/wp-content/uploads/files/field/image/941695_507922989273085_1961978762_n.jpg). If you look closely, some of the runes in the movie have a very distinct geometric shapes in the writing.
Where did you watch this? What streaming service?
Can someone describe how the Mother Buddha looks like at the end? I didn't have the guts to look at that part
Like pennywise the clown but without the deadlights
A hole with holes
Xzibit loves this movie!
Some Taiwanese viewers joke about it resembling an amethyst geode, but pink instead of purple.
I told my cousin mother buddha looks like a geode, too!!
There's nothing scary about her face XD
If you have that phobia of holes, I think it's trypophobia off the top of my head, don't look lol.
Have you ever seen those frogs that give birth out of their backs? Their skin is holey. Its just like that. And I eonder if the frogs have a significance because of that.
A prolapse anus with holes like made by a hole punch
The face is empty and is actually a giant hole extending to no end. And the "wall" of this hole is made out of flesh with hundreds of tiny holes just like the beehive. It's suppose to trigger your trypohobia.
A hole extending forever surrounded by what looks like a geode stone.
It wasn’t a face, it was more like a dodgy bit of guttering HAHA
> The moments where she was speaking on her regret of having this child was super impactful and heart wrenching.
Can you reminds me what she said?
It was meh. Production was really good for a ff film but the general execution of film was not too good and didnt really feel any tension through the whole film and the cheap jump scares were just too much.
The plot was all over the place. Why is the girl suddenly in a wheelchair? How was she still pregnant after losing so much blood? How did no one notice she cut someone’s ear off? The timelines confused me as well. Overall not bad but I think there’s too much filler.
she was in a wheelchair because she became paralyzed when she jumped off that balcony. the deity cursed her and baby when she was pregnant so maybe that’s why she was bleeding. idk about the ear lol
I hated the movie
She climbed back up after jumping off the balcony and was walking around. Her legs atrophied from being bedridden. She was weak, had not eaten in days.
She lost some blood. Are you female? That's like period blood amount. The mother buddha had the girls ear cut off.
she was in a wheelchair Bc her muscles atrophied
I really enjoyed it though I think it had a strong beginning and kind of lost some of it during the middle and end. Great concept though and I also really liked the aspect of the main character tricking us. One thing that kind of annoyed me though is why the hell did she feed her kid after being explicitly told not too?! Like she knows this shit is real but.. feeds her anyway? I’m confused further though wondering if the old folks were actually trying to help or hurt the girl?
They probably were trying to help, but the mother fucked up and killed everyone. A neat detail is that during the scene where the she found the old folks dead, after her flashlight going on and off and we saw the granny teleport around, you can see the dolls on the altar turn their back. Those dolls represent the chinese god of justice, signifying that because the mother didn't follow the rule, the exorcism failed and the Mother Buddha is too powerful for them so they turned their back on her. Proving that even the gods had abandoned them.
can someone explain the ending? >!since when did ronan know about the translation? why is there a footage of her while she was pregnant with the monk that's explaining it?!<
Ronan knew from the beginning because she went to the monk right after the events at the temple. She knew it was a curse from the very beginning. She set up the videos (hence the movie) at the beginning by lying that she wanted to document Dodo's journey when in reality, it was to fool us viewers into believing and knowing more about the deity because the more you know, the more afflicted you are. The more afflicted people are in quantity, the lesser the curse's effect on already cursed. This explains Dodo living a good life in the ending, implying we viewers are shouldering the curse too.
Ronan already knew it was a curse from the beginning and she lied to her viewers because she was trying to dilute the curse from her and mostly Dodo by getting more people to recite the incarnation with her. Yeah Ronan did send the foster father to death for nothing.
Anyways the theory was that since she already knew it was a curse, the moment she gave birth she gave Dodo up for adoption while she try to figure how to break the curse which was classified as mental problems. Notice that Dodo was fine for those 6 years because when she was at the foster home, she was using the nickname Dodo and not her real name.
Once Ronan taught her her real name and she wrote it down, that’s when Dodo started seeing the baddie.
Also the possibility that when she returned home from the village, Ronan didn’t know what to do and when her parents asked what happened. She showed the tunnel footage to her parents resulting in their death. And then possibly to the policemen at the station. That’s why they committed suicide. That’s when she went to seek help with monk.
Maybe Ronan thought she had finally trapped the evil deity and got freed from the curse by storing the camera in the storeroom on top of her parents apartment along with tailsmen and other good deities idols only to be proven wrong when she brought Dodo home and taught Dodo her real name. Dodo carries the blood of the Chen clan and is probably tied to the evil deity for eternity. The only way is to dilute the curse.
She know about the translation when she was pregnant. That's why at the end she's spreading it. Actually she's spreading it everywhere a long time before to avoid her own demise. Jus that at the end she's spreading it to help Dodo live. So Dodo's "adopt father?" died for nothing. He's trying to help but Ronan alr know everything.
the translation was from the foster dad, i think, and i guess ronan came to a monk for consultation after being in the temple
Everyone has made good points so all I can add is that this was a home run in FF and solidly in my top 3 scariest asian horror films next to Noroi and Ringu. I'm honestly surprised there isn't more appreciation for it.
For me, my sister was way less bothered than I was. You know a lot of American horror films dealing with cults have an aspect of Christianity which I understand. However, this was a whole other religion/cult that I've never seen. It was extremely unnerving and even today after I watched it yesterday I'm extremely weirded out like dang. Honestly tho, the characters in the beginning were stupid really mf stupid. Like bro it's a haunted tunnel in a STRANGE ASS VILLAGE. & you wanna go exploring? Lmao they're acting like Americans in a foreign country. "For the views bro" *continues to disrespect a culture that is evil & will kill you* 😐😐I give it paranormal activity x4 for the gore
Just watched this movie. It could have been so much better.
It is too long, the editing is really messy, i watched it with my wife and we were all like "So when is this scene ? Now or 6 years ago? Who is this character? Did we see him before? "
So many flaws..
It seems to be a common method in Asian film. Watched plenty of kdramas that do time jumps without clarifying.
Its a simple timejump movie… not rocket science. Stick to marvel films
I left twitter because of all the hate. Innocently thinking that people on reddit would be nicer. You just proved me wrong.
I just gave my advice. I understand that you don’t agree with it. But why acting like a jerk? If you can’t stand the fact that people can have a different opinion than yours, why did you sign in for a social network ?
Your comment is like saying interstellar was a bad movie because its too complicated for you to understand. This movie isnt even near that level so yea, stick to simple marvel movies
Just cause timeline is confusing to you doesn't make it a bad movie lol. I found the timeline pretty well executed, idk how you'd want it to be but I don't think it's the movie's fault
I am more into movies that are mind-boggling, and as much as possible, with no jumpscares. Jumpscares are nothing if you watch in a low volume or muted at all—so I really didn’t like this movie. I think it is creepy enough even without the jumpscares.
Some unrealistic & confusing stuff that kinda ruined it for me (**note: maybe I missed detailed info; please help explain if you have the time):
- like with the Yuen friend who’s always an idiot, destroying things around and being disrespectful.
- the kid inviting her to feed frogs with her hair. What was the relevance?
- no explanation about how the Chen family started the reigion. Why would they put theirselves into such a religion when the deity doesn’t bless them and curses them instead?
- No explanation about why they have to offer up their names. The deity doesn’t give them any blessings so what about the names?
- The monks she went to (the ones who asked her not to feed the kid within 7 days); why would they just leave the mom be with the kid, knowing fully well she might feed her & knowing fully well that their lives were at steak? I would put them under strict supervision if I were those monks. Also, when the kid got sick, the mom turned to local hospitals instead of the monks, when in the first place, it was them she believed and put faith in.
- I find it odd that Dodo’s recovered health because the deity doesn’t give blessings so Dodo’s condition should have stayed same, especially assuming she didn’t eat for days
- I hate how the foster dad’s life was in vain
I do not know about your cultural background but for someone from Taiwan or Asia in general (who has been exposed to buddhist myths / teachings) a lot of things in the movie were implicit. To fill the gaps, let me try.
* Taiwanese society is quite a bit conservative when it comes to religion and supernatural. The younger generation is not so much, especially from cities. The merry three were disbelieving lot and sort of iconoclasts. They had an internet vlog on that.
* Honestly, I do not know the relevance. But then since its found footage, there is not really relevance to every thing.
* This will take a bit longer to explain. The Chen's family did not really have a religion in the normal sense of the word. They were keeping a kind of shrine to a specific deity. This shrine did not really exalted the deity but kept the deity "sealed" in there. These deity called mother buddha in esoteric forms of buddhism is not an "all knowing God" but rather a supernatural entity which protects a clan or a family. There is a lot of details to this but in short this deity is sort of shaped by how these practitioner keep her, in buddhism deities take guidance and counselling from humans too. Buddha supposedly did that many times in his life time. Somewhere in their past, Chen family decided to make their deity ferocious by offering it blood and flesh of children. It is not explicitly stated but it is likely these people were sorcerers in the past and made their deity ferocious to get some kind of supernatural favour, most likely not a good one. Once they make it dark and malevolent, they have to keep it from destroying them. That is they had to seal her and keep her contained and appeased enough. This is why there were so many mirrors etc in that tunnel. And they were doing offerings of flesh. Just to keep it contained and not come after them and kill them. So you see its not a religion in the normal sense of the word.
* "Offering names" is a plot device here. Though it is kind of used before too, again in buddhist context. Try watching an anime from Japan called Spirited Away, it also uses it as a plot device. "Taking an offering of name" is somewhat like taking a person as a slave or follower or employee. I mean even now you sign a contract by putting your name beneath it, right?
* Honestly, I do not have any idea of this one. The monks were a couple and tried to break the curse. Why they did not keep the mother and daughter under their supervision? No idea. People in east asia and south (east) asia do visit these kinds of witch doctors or temples for amulets and supernatural protections. These folks often put some weird kind of restriction too. "Do not visit toilet wearing this amulet" or something similar. Why did Ronan do what she did? I guess at that time she was simply too desparate.
* Dodo was in a hospital at that time. Finally after the monk and her wife died. Ronan took the girl to a hospital and then went to the tunnel. So dodo was already getting medical help. The curse lessened, she made the recovery.
* Ronan was not really a good person. She lied to all of viewers. She lied to that foster father too.
Thank you for explaining! It was really fascinating in particular to learn how humans can also influence the spirits. Is there anywhere that I could learn more about this?