|Frightening flick: Con Ma Nha Ho Vuong (Never Trust A Stranger), a horror film by director Vu Ngoc Dang,hits cinemas this Halloween. — VNS Photo
HCM CITY (VNS) — Talented film scriptwriter and director Vu Ngoc Dang of HCM City has had mixed reviews for his latest film, Con Ma Nha Ho Vuong (Never Trust a Stranger) released for the Halloween holiday.
Con Ma Nha Ho Vuong, distributed by BHD, one of the country's leading film distributors and studios, also marks Dang's return four years after leaving the screen. The film depicts a murder in a country house.
"My film is a story of crime and punishment," said Dang at the film's premiere in HCM City last week.
One of the country's very few blockbuster directors, Dang said that he wanted to direct and produce films in his own way, whether they are serious dramas or light, entertaining features.
"I'm just concerned how my films will attract audiences, particularly young people who like Hollywood and South Korean products," he said.
For his current film, Dang invited young actors Ho Vinh Khoa and La Quang Hung, both of whom have worked as fashion models, to play leading roles.
The film's soundtracks are composed by Duc Tri, owner of Music Faces, one of the city's leading music studios.
"A good film should go with beautiful scenes, attractive actors and emotional stories. That's enough," said the 41-year-old Dang, who graduated from HCM City's Theatre & Cinematography College.
Con Ma Nha Ho Vuong's trailer attracted more than 20,000 viewers after only a week of its release.
Many audiences wrote comments on the work and hoped to see Dang's progress on his new film.
The film's producer, Song Ngu Film, spent only VND4 billion (US$180,000), a small sum compared to other productions at an average of VND10 billion ($445,000) each, to make the film.
"Dang is a guarantee for the film's box office," said Luong Manh Hai of Song Ngu Film.
Dang's first TV series, Tuyet Nhiet Doi (Tropical Snow), was broadcast on HCM City Television in 2006 and received mixed opinions from critics and viewers.
Made by M&T Pictures, the 30-episode drama is a romantic visual poem that takes the audience on a love story between a rich man and a poor girl.
By airing Tuyet Nhiet Doi, HTV attracted a high advertising rate from local and foreign companies, who care about the film's audience more than its quality.
In 2004, Dang became famous as a blockbuster director by helping his producer, Galaxy Studio, earn VND15 billion ($1 million at that time) from Nhung Co Gai Chan Dai (Catwalk Girls), a film about the backstage life of fashion models.
Both films won the top prizes Silver Kite and Silver Lotus at national film festivals launched by the Department of Cinematography and Viet Nam Association of Cinematography.
Dang has directed nine TV series and films. His new project is set to be released early next year.
Con Ma Nha Ho Vuong is now playing at cinemas. — VNS