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Horror film seeks to revive genre

Update: July, 22/2014 - 09:40
Ghostly: Lam Thanh My plays the Vuong family's young daughter in Hollow. — Photo news.zing.vn

HA NOI  (VNS) — Doat Hon (Hollow) attempts not only to score success at the box office, but also to revive Vietnamese horror films.

Directed by Ham Tran, Hollow tells the story of the Vuong family, whose daughter becomes possessed in the process of nearly drowning.

Before 1975, horror films were frequently produced in the south of Viet Nam. Le Da (Stone's Tear) by director Vo Doan Chau and Con Ma Nha Ho Hua (Hua Family's Ghost) by Le Hoang Hoa were major hits. After 1975, however, the genre declined. No horror films were produced until the early 1990s, when Ngoi Nha Oan Khoc (House of Gross Injustice), directed by Le Mong Hoang, earned record revenue of VND1 billion (US$47,000). The film costed hundreds of millions of dong to make, a huge sum at the time.

Hollow, released last Thursday, is the second film produced in Viet Nam by overseas Vietnamese director Ham Tran, following his debut last year with romantic comedy Am Muu Giay Got Nhon (How to Fight in Six Inch Heels). It features several veteran actors of Vietnamese cinema, including Kieu Chinh, Thuong Tin, Ngoc Hiep and Minh Trang, as well as emerging star Tran Bao Son, who plays Mr. Vuong. His fame is increasing after his roles in Giao Lo Dinh Menh (Inferno) and Ngoi Nha Trong Hem (House in the Alley).

Director Tran spent three years travelling from the north to the south to decide where to shoot the film. The religious scenes were filmed in Chau Phong Temple in the southern province of An Giang.

Many other horror films have been produced in recent years, such as Khi Yeu Dung Quay Dau Lai (Don't Turn Around When in Love), Cot Moc 23 (Mask), Giua Hai The Gioi (Between Two Worlds) and Loi Nguyen Huyet Ngai (The Curse of Blood Wormwood), but these films failed to win the praise of horror buffs.

Only Bi Mat Tham Do (Scandal), made by Victor Vu in 2012, was acclaimed by both film critics and audiences. It won eight awards from the Viet Nam Cinematography Association.

Another film by Victor Vu, Qua Tim Mau (Vengeful Heart), reached a record 158 screenings in one day when it was released early this year. After only three days, its revenue was about VND24 billion (US$1.1 million).

Vu is currently working on a sequel to Scandal which will be released in August. Three other horror films will also come out soon: Hotgirl Ghost by Vu Thai Hoa, Loi Nguyen 7.27 (7.27 Curse) by Tuan Nguyen and Tieng Tho Giua Dem Khuya (Breath at Night) by Ba Vu. — VNS

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