New Chinese thriller breaks bad stereotype

Updated: 2014-08-09 07:27

By Liu Zhihua (China Daily)

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New Chinese thriller breaks bad stereotype

A scene from The House That Never Dies, which is one of the most successful productions on the Chinese mainland. [Photos provided to China Daily]

Chinese horror movies are notorious for provoking snorts of derision rather than racing pulses ... until now, that is.

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Horror movie fans Cao Zhong and Lu Jia recently had a fierce argument about whether to go and see a recently released Chinese movie, The House That Never Dies.

Lu was keen to head to the cinema, having seen ads and trailers that piqued her curiosity about the first Chinese-made big-budget 3-D horror movie, the plot of which centers around an abandoned, reputedly haunted, mansion in downtown Beijing.

Cao was far less eager to see the movie, after being massively disappointed by a domestically produced horror film he saw a few years ago. "I can't remember the name or anything about the movie, but it was complete junk, just a collection of scenes tied together without any logic," he says, and quotes a friend who once commented that for real lovers of horror movies, watching a Chinese-made offering is like being in one, because they are so crudely shot and the plots are so ridiculous.

However, that could be about to change. The House That Never Dies has become a huge box office hit. Directed by the Hong Kong director Raymond Yip, the thriller was released in cinemas on July 18, and raked in 45 million yuan ($7.2 million) on its first day, according to 1905, a movie news and ratings website affiliated to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

In the first two days after release, the movie earned more than 100 million yuan. Nine days into its run, it had been viewed by more than 7 million people and the box office takings exceeded 300 million yuan.

Media reports said it's a "miracle" that a domestic horror movie has achieved such high office box returns and become so influential.

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