Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CONJURING SPIRIT 《鬼宅》 Movie Review

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Lan, a detective fiction author could not bear the pain due to her husband’s betrayal and decided to leave home and moved to a rented apartment in an old building with her 5 year-old son, Bi. Among her neighbors, there was Thao, who’s living with her husband and their stubborn teenage daughter, Ngoc. Soon after, Vu – an amateur musician, also moved into the building.

The trauma caused by her husband’s betrayal affected Lan badly and resulted in many nightmares. She consulted a therapist and was put on a medication. One day, Bi was given a music box by Mrs. Chu, the building supervisor, and since then, the nightmares became more rapid.

Lan and her neighbor Vu attempted to solve the mysteries happening in the building, and realized that the strange happenings originate from the music box…

Who is the true owner of the music box? Could it be a malicious spirit seeking revenge or otherwise?


VAN M. PHAM - Director
Van Pham graduated at Washington State University with a BA in TV Broadcast Productions and received his MFA in Film and Television from Chapman University. As winner of the ABC-Komo4 Fisher's Broadcasting Scholarship, he went abroad to study film and production at the University of Wales, where he produced a short documentary, A Different Corner, which was screened and honored at numerous film festivals.

He is the director of Beyond the Mat (2013) which was an official screenplay selection for some film festivals such as Tribeca Film Festival All-Access Program, Vietnamese International Film Festival, and Asian American International Film Festival. Beyond the Mat also won "Best Sports Film" at the Canada International Film Festival.        
Van M. Pham is the co-producer of the horror thriller "Spirits – Oan Hon".

CONJURING SPIRIT is the first film of Van M. Pham since he decided to enter the cinema of Vietnam.

GABRIEL J. LEWIS - Director of Photography
Gabriel and Van Pham collaborated together in the film Beyond the Mat of Van Pham. Gabriel has agreed to give up some other movies in the United States to cooperate with Van Pham for their first movie in Vietnam. Gabriel has worked in the photography team of many large movie projects in Hollywood such as Thor, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean 3, and Transformers.

With professional experiences and empathy in producing film with the director, Gabriel promises to give a combination of experiences of Hollywood entertainment and features of life in Vietnam for CONJURING SPIRIT.



Been working in the entertainment industry from a very young age and gained a lot of success includes Golden Award - Vietnam Super Model 2012, Phuong Mai has made unforgettable impression on the runway. 

Phuong Mai’s character is Lan, a 30-year-old detective fiction writer who has just separated from her husband. To overcome this pain, Lan takes her 5-year-old son Bi away from home and rents an apartment in an old building to start a new life. 


As an actor who has made his name in the 90s, while most of his colleagues have quit acting, Hoang Phuc still has a position in Vietnamese audience’s heart by his impressive roles in films such as Clash, Chinatown...


With a handsome face and acting skills he learned at Korea National University of Arts, Quang Su is now considered the first choice for male leading roles, especially when he has won over many candidates to play along "the king of the box office" Thai Hoa in Fool For Love 2. 

Quang Su's character is Vu, a 30-year-old talented and humorous musician, son of a rich family always wants to be independent. 


Hoai An has work in the cinema industry from an early age and she has been one of the audience’s favorite actresses. Since she was young, Hoai An has been assigned roles that are older than herself, and that "favor" has helped Hoai An gain a lot of valuable experiences. 


Known as a hot girl and a teen model, but now, Chi Pu has gradually made a name for herself as a talented girl with a large amount of young fans. 

Chi Pu’s character is Ngoc, a 16-year-old stubborn teenage girl. 


Tien Pham is a Vietnamese American. He has been participating in a number of television series and movies in the United States. 

Tien Pham’s character is Cuong, a 35 wealthy architect, amorous, ex-husband of Lan. He had an affair with his secretary and Lan detected. 


This is the first time I am watching a Vietnamese produced horror movie. In fact, I have never watch a Vietnamese produced movie if my memory did not fail me. I do have the same feeling as the others who have watch this show. The feeling is like watching a Thai produced horror movie. 

This horror movie borrowed a number of things from other horror movies from Japan, Thailand, Chinese and even from Hollywood movie. Unborn child, ghost crawling, body buried in unnatural location, unsettled Spirit, unexpected ending twist, mysterious musical box, shocked treatment ( although it did not have much effect on me ), mediumship ( bridging the communication gap between the living and dead ), young child ability to communicate with the dead and humour, all brought together to roll out this movie into a reasonably good watchable movie.

The photography and scenes were exceptional impressive given that the Director of Photography, Gabriel, have worked on many famous movies as stated earlier on the profile of Gabriel. One interesting thing is that most of the background scenes are full of texture such as dirty and old wall, interesting wooden bathtub, old but interesting structured building and home decoration. Even the hospital seem to have a lot of texture on the wall and background. Lighting is great since it is a horror movie. 

Mysterious settings such as the musical box further enhances the horror theme of the  movie. The main character, Lan, somehow I felt, bare a keen resemblance to the pop singer, Rihana. The acting is good especially Lan and Thao. But the 5 years old boy was truly the star of the show whom charm me with his adorable role.  

The movie started showing on the 14 May 2015. I shall give the movie a rating of 3/5. If you need some shocks and mysterious moments, grab a ticket and popcorn and enjoy a reasonably good show. If you think you are going to have  weak legs after the show, do go with someone who can help you up your seat when the movie ends. 


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