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

An added bonus, Xing believes, is that horror movies are a good medium for novice directors to learn how to deal with casts and crews, and how to present a story scene by scene.

New Chinese thriller breaks bad stereotype


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Before Xing makes a horror movie, his team surveys potential audience members to discover the kinds of storylines and scenes that will appeal to them most. Once the survey is complete, he sits down to write the screenplay based on the results.

However, the genre's popularity with investors and movie producers is just one side of the coin.

Zhang Ting, an avid viewer of the best-known offerings from the US, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Europe, says domestic movies are in fierce competition with foreign-made films. The homemade variety has never been her first choice, and she says she has never heard any of her friends praise a domestic horror movie, even those who really love the genre.

Poor quality films can still be successful, for course. In 2011, Mysterious Island, starring actress Yang Mi, grossed more than 90 million yuan at the box office, despite scoring just 3.2 points out of 10 on Douban, one of China's most-popular movie websites.

The film, directed by Chung Kai-cheung, begins with a scene where a ghostly wind chases a small boy and his mother, played by Yang, who dies after a fall. The story then cuts to a boat carrying handsome men and bikini-clad women who are heading to an abandoned island to compete in a survival game. However, once they arrive at the island, an apparently supernatural force kills the competitors one by one, until only Yi Lin, who is also played by Yang, and Peng Fei, played by Jordan Chan, remain alive. At the end, it turns out Chan's character is the killer; his murderous streak is prompted by the fact that there is hidden treasure on the island and he doesn't want the others to find it. Finally, a rough sort of justice prevails when Chan is killed by a weak-looking Yang.

The murders were supposed to be bloody, scary and mysterious, but instead, they appeared to occur randomly and unaccountably.