HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wildlife
X2
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Heiress, The
Cold Pursuit
Firestorm
Dogs of War, The
Holy Mountain, The
Piercing
Under Fire
Jennifer on My Mind
People on Sunday
Lethal Weapon 4
Downhill Racer
Emily
Odette
Escape Room
Across the Pacific
Madeline's Madeline
You're Gonna Miss Me
Iron Sky: The Coming Race
Derby
Mortal Engines
Union City
Knife+Heart
Little Stranger, The
Sauvage
Watermelon Man
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
   
 
Newest Articles
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
   
 
  Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe Where Monsters DwellBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Lu Chuan
Stars: Mark Chao, Yao Chen, Rhydian Vaughan, Li Chen, Tiffany Tang, Daniel Feng, Li Guangjie, Wang Qingxiang, Wu Jun, Wang Deshun
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In 1979 humble archaeological dig worker Hu Bayi (Mark Chao) volunteers for an expedition deep into the Kunlun mountains led by Professor Yang (Wang Qingixang). Largely because he is smitten with the scholar's kind and beautiful daughter Yang Ping (Yao Chen). A perilous journey sees them menaced by an array of mysterious, malevolent giant monsters before reaching an underground temple where tragedy awaits. Only Hu Bayi makes it home alive. Three years later, on leaving the army a still-traumatized Bayi joins his Fifties-rockabilly-quiffed friend Kaixuan (Daniel Feng) studying at an institute guided by the enigmatic Wang (Li Chen). Meanwhile government scientists are drawn to a series of strange events including an attack by giant monsters on a small desert town and the discovery that the Professor and Yang Ping are still alive. The latter now reborn as a flirty, feral demon-woman with mystical powers who rechristens herself 'Shirley.' Even though Shirley claims to be a different person, Bayi feels compelled to join her and a new team including Kaixun, scientist Chen Dong (Rhydian Vaughan) and cute photographer Cao Weiwei (Tiffany Tang) to find out what is going on.

Much as Hollywood occasionally produces competing blockbusters about alien invasions, killer meteors or Snow White released in the same year, in 2015 the Chinese film industry released two adaptations of Ghost Blows Out the Light: a series of fantasy novels written by Zhang Muye. In this instance for once the local audience had an appetite for both movies as both Mojin - The Lost Legend and Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe carved up a serious chunk of the Asian box-office. While the former was a crowd-pleasing, star-laden blockbuster helmed by flamboyant music video graduate Wu Er-Shan, Chronicles... is a quirkier, more contemplative though no less visually spectacular fantasy and an unexpected departure for Lu Chuan: one of China's most acclaimed rising auteurs. Opening with an amusing pastiche of vintage communist propaganda musicals the film has faintly satirical undertones even though its concluding message about sacrifice for the greater good remains staunchly traditional.

Adapted for the screen by Lu Chuan and co-writer Tianxia Bachang with additional input from Bobby Roth (an American television veteran who directed episodes of Lost, Fringe and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and his son Nick Roth (who was instrumental in developing the project) an offbeat story-structure renders the lengthy first act virtually a movie unto itself. Thereafter the protagonists undergo drastic emotional and physical transformations, ably conveyed by likable leads Mark Chao and Yao Chen. While the plot suffers from lack of a clear-cut antagonist and concocts murky motives for an array of under-characterized supporting players, the core romance proves compelling enough and Lu Chuan delivers consistent thrills, chills and suspenseful monster encounters. It is a pleasing throwback to classic Hollywood monster movies only on a much larger scale as the often-stunning scenery adds a truly epic sweep. Yuan pulls off scenes of epic spectacle with panache and verve while the cinematography by Cao Yu proves highly evocative, pinpointing moments of wonder and horror by way of some poetic visuals. Although unveiled with surprisingly little fanfare the scary computer-animated creatures are a menacing, occasionally even awe-inspiring presence. To its credit Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe is a lot less flippant about innocent deaths than many recent monster movies as the consequences of each loss hit home for empathetic hero Hu Bayi.

While the midsection gets bogged down with exposition and a preponderance of mystical contrivance in place of solid storytelling, the third act livens things up considerably with the survivors trapped in an abandoned desert town fending off ravenous monsters. Look out for one funny/suspenseful sequence where one character tries to outwit a monster by posing as a mannequin.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 683 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Rachel Franke
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: