Review: Restless ‘Phantom of the Theatre’ collapses under its own weight
The Shanghai-set 1930s ghost saga “Phantom of the Theatre” is, like many haunted tales, rife with secrets to be unearthed. But this visually restless and ultimately ludicrous Chinese horror film from director Yip Wai Man (a.k.a. Raymond Yip) is unlikely to either shorten your breath or curl your toes.
It stars Tony Yang as young, aspiring filmmaker Wei Bang, determined to make his cinematic calling card with a ghost story filmed in an opulent, abandoned playhouse that’s been shuttered since a mysterious fire 13 years prior trapped and killed a family of acrobats who had performed for an autocratic warlord (Simon Yam). While vengeful spirits disrupt production by causing an assortment of victims to internally combust, Wei Bang’s leading lady, Si Fan (Taiwanese actress Ruby Lin), starts a flirtation with him that carries repercussions when the tragic truth behind the theater’s dark history is revealed.
“Phantom of the Theatre”
In Mandarin with English subtitles
Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Playing: In limited release
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