Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Phantom of the Theatre, Ghosts and Revenge in Shanghai

Falling in love with a ghost is surely going to bring complications.  Normal rules of courtship are thrown out the window in favor of a death-centered relationship.  From China, today we take a peek at 2016's "Phantom of the Theatre." A love story?  Sure.  A horror story? Sure.  A ghost story?  Well... you'll see.  With a tip of the hat to Victor Hugo's "Phantom of the Opera" director Wai Man Yip brings us an epic story filled with twists.  Beware... do not draw too many conclusions before the end credits roll.
Meng SiFan (Ruby Lin) is a hauntingly beautiful starlet that captures the 1930s Shanghai film industry.  Much to the displeasure of lots of beautiful actresses, she owns every movie maker.  Weibang (Tony Yo-ning Yang) is a young director who manages to get Meng interested in his script.  The two have instant chemistry.  Uh oh, Weibang's script is for a horror/ghost story to be shot in a refurbished theater.  Double uh oh, 13 years previous a fire killed all the performers of an acrobatic troupe which performed there. In fact, as our film opens, a thief seeks refuge in the old theater only to be murdered by ghosts (...or was it something else?).  Shooting begins and the ghosts seem to be stirred into action.  A malevolent force and a masked phantom prey upon the cast and crew, and kill some of them.
The sultry Meng will not be deterred.  For some mysterious reason, she is bent on completing this film.  She and Weibang fall deeper in love and her leading man is seemingly burnt up by a ghost.  This leaves Weibang, the director, the opportunity to fill in as the new leading man.  Now Weibang and Meng can fall in love in real life, and in the movies.  Uh oh, something or someone doesn't want them to fall in love.  Exactly what happened to that acrobatic troupe 13 years ago?  Where did Meng come from, and what is her passion for braving the otherworldly in order to complete this film?
I have left so much of the plot description out in order to refrain from spoilers.  Revenge, vengeance, murder, and love will converge.  The cast is great looking, and however much a love story this film is, it is also a neat ghost story.  Did I say ghost story?  Might there be something else going on here?  Find out by watching "Phantom of the Theatre" on Netflix. You'll love the twists, be mesmerized by the special f/x, and Ruby Lin, and Meng, will absolutely captivate you.

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