<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 21, 2022



‘INCANTATION’ is a Taiwanese horror film that was a huge blockbuster in Taiwan and is now streaming on Netflix. 

Written and directed by Kevin Ko, it is told using the found footage style that was used effectively in “Paranormal Activity” but was repulsively used in “Dashcam”. 

But the style was not really sustained all throughout the film, which suffers from bad cinematography.

The story is narrated by Ronan (Tsai Hsuan-yen) who asks the viewers if they believe in blessings, then ask them to memorize a symbol on the screen and to chant an incantation to help and her 6-year old daughter Dodo (Huang Sin-ting) whose life is in danger because of a curse. 

The film is not told in a chronological manner and it jumps back and forth in its timeline, which can be quite confusing.

Anyway, it appears that six year earlier, Ronan and her boyfriend Dom (Sean Lin) and Dom’s cousin Yuan (Wen Ching Yu), went to a remote village in the mountains where they meet relatives of Dom and Yuan in the Chen clan, who are involved in an obscure religion worshipping a deity that they call Buddha Mother.  

Ronan and friends call themselves the ghost busters and chronicle strange happenings for fun in their own youtube channel. An old woman in the clan who sees Ronan tells her that she is pregnant, which surprises her as she wasn’t aware she’s with child.

Despite warnings to them to stay away from a ritual and not to enter a forbidden tunnel, they still do so, resulting into some regrettable results that we cannot share with you here as it would be a very big spoiler. 

In the present time, Ronan is now taking care of her daughter after being released from a mental institution. 

They are soon beset with many scary supernatural manifestations, affecting the mental health of Ronan once again, and also the safety of people trying to help her.

This includes Ming (Kao Ying-hsuan), the manager of the foster home who took care of Dodo, and also the priest and his wife who try to exorcise Dodo. 

But it looks like that no matter what they do, they cannot reverse the ancient, deadly curse. 

And in movies like this, our usual reaction is, we cannot fully sympathize with the beleaguered lead characters. 

Our take is whatever misfortune is happening to them, they deserve it “kasi matitigas ang mga ulo nila.” 

They were warned several times not to do something that is taboo to the clan, but they still defied, so they’re just reaping what they sow. 

The movie really offers nothing but surface-level jump scares, with some disturbing visuals and jolting camera work, plus the eerie manipulation of religious script runic symbols and iconography used as a vehicle of fear, that actually look like old-hat gimmicks that only gullible viewers would buy. 

The movie offers tired genre tropes and cliches like nebulous folk cult religion, demonic possession, characters banging their heads against a wall or something,  which are handled poorly without any innovative twists at all.   

Choosing to use a non-linear manner in telling the narrative, constantly cutting between now and six years ago, does not really do much to conceal how unconvincing the material really is. 

And please, tigilan na yang mga found footage ek-ek na yan. Kasawa na no!