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The Devil Fish

Opening Date
29 Nov 2018
NC16 Horror
114 mins
Mandarin - subtitles to be advised
David Chuang
Vivian Hsu, Cheng Jen Shuo, Lung Shao Hua, Francesca Kao, Zhang Shu Wei, Chaster Wu
A house is haunted by the five people that died there recently; since then, no one has dared to go even close to it. Even neighbours are scared by the weird noises that can be heard emanating. Believing there are many evil spectres, spirit medium Tongji (Jen Shuo Cheng) is invited to dispel them. Tongji successfully captures the spectre spirits in a fish!

In summer, the kids are enjoying their school holiday: their mother (Vivian Hsu) prefers that they enjoy the outdoors and run around in nature instead of staying home watching television. One day, the kids decide to go fishing by the river. Unfortunately, they happen to catch the aforementioned demonic fish. The wicked spectres are released again to carry out evil…
By Say Peng  22 Nov 2018
Despite decent performances from Vivian Hsu and Cheng Jen-Shuo and an intriguing script, as a horror film, 'The Devil Fish' struggles to scare.
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Cheng Jen-Shuo (‘Thanatos, Drunk’) and Vivian Hsu (‘Lock Me Up, Tie Him Down’) star in this supernatural horror film, the directorial debut of Taiwanese TV director David Chuang.

Cheng plays Taoist spirit medium Tongji, who decides to help his neighbour exorcise a demon. After the demon is banished from its host, Tongji traps it in the body of a fish. To kill the demon, Tongji fries the fish as if it is a dish and discards the fried fish in the trash.

Unbeknownst to Tongji, he’s being secretly observed and filmed by schoolboy Chia-Hao, who goes to fish out the fried fish from the trash. A baby fish pops out of the demonic fish and, unaware that the demon now resides in the baby fish, Chia-Hao brings it home, where he lives with his single mother, Ya-Hui (Hsu).

As Tongji continues to investigate the murders perpetrated by a man possessed by the demon, the demon fish slowly haunts Ya-Hui, eventually possessing her, and Tongji has to save her.

‘The Devil Fish’ would work better if it was a straight-out drama. The film has believable characters with relatable struggles, and Cheng and Hsu’s performances passes the bar.

But as a horror film, ‘The Devil Fish’ falls way short on its scares. The film repeatedly uses the same rote pattern of jump scares that we can predict when the jump scares will pop up. This is, no doubt, due to the director’s relative inexperience. It’s a pity because there is both a really scary and equally touching movie that could have been made.
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