Phantom of the Theatre Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by Well Go USA
Directed by Yip Wai Man
Written by Hana Li and Sakura Lang
2015, 104 Minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on October 11th, 2016
Ruby Lin as Meng Si Fan
Tony Yo-ning Yang as Gu Weibang
Simon Yam as Gu Mingshan
Meng Si Fan is the new It Girl of Chinese cinema. Beautiful, talented, she catches the eye of some influential, and creepy, producers. When novice filmmaker Gu Weibang offers her an escape from a particularly adamant producer that roofied her drink, she agrees to read his script in thanks. Impressed, she agrees to star in his movie and they begin filming in the old, supposedly haunted theatre in town. But as soon as the cameras start rolling, strange things begin to happen. Weibang must fight his military father's disapproval and his crews' desertion to finish his masterpiece...but Si Fan may have some dark secrets of her own threatening the production.
Phantom of the Theatre is nothing if not beautiful. Opulent sets, glamorous costumes, and Golden Age of Hollywood gorgeous stars make this a movie out of time. Actually, that's true; Weibang's girlfriend is a forensics expert but everyone dresses like it's 1925. And while most current horror movies are color graded for the deathly gray-blue look, Phantom is as brightly colored as a Disney Pixar joint and is about as scary as Monsters, Inc. Except for that rapey producer; he's pretty gross.
That isn't to say it's not enjoyable. I found myself deeply invested in Weibang and Si Fan's forbidden romance, the shocking way some of the crew meets their doom, whether this is a ghost or a psychopath story. Phantom of the Theatre is engaging, charming, and very easy to watch. The familiar, uncomplicated plot lines are easy to call before they happen, but watching them unfold is still enjoyable. Just not very frightening.
Now, it does get VERY interesting for the last twenty minutes. At this point you're absolutely certain you know what's going to happen, but I promise you there is a twist that left my jaw agape at the screen.
Phantom of the Theatre is a nice, melodramatic break from TBS' 31 Days of Halloween. I recommend watching this just to enjoy a change of pace.