• 23 Jul - 29 Jul, 2022
  • Mag The Weekly

Writer-director Kevin Ko’s Incantation arrives on Netflix after scaring up some serious bank at the Taiwanese box office, before becoming the country’s highest-grossing horror film. In the footage, a woman struggles to free her preschooler daughter from the very ancient and very deadly curse that she and her ghost-chasing college pals bungled their way into unleashing. In the out-of-order timeline of Incantation, we meet Ruo-nan (Tsai Hsuan-yen) in the present, where she’s at her wit’s end. “Six years ago, I violated a terrible taboo,” she tells the camera that’s become her companion. “Anyone who came too close was befallen with misfortunes I cannot explain.” She lost her parents to a calamity, lost custody of her infant daughter Duo-do (Huang Sin-ting), and lost herself inside a mental institution, where a doctor attempted to make sense of her ravings about a ‘tunnel you must not enter’. Six years ago, when Ruo-non first travelled to a remote mountain village to observe the mysterious ancient rituals practiced by the family elders of her boyfriend Dong (Sean Lin) and pal Yuan (RQ), it was all in good fun, an insensitive goof for their ghost-hunting social media page. Six years ago, she definitely didn’t understand the curse that would be unleashed by Yuan and Dong’s entrance into the village temple’s tunnel. As Incantation shifts between a distraught Ruo-nan in the present and footage Yuan shot on that fateful trip, it also fills in the backstory of Ruo-nan’s life.