Incantation is a Taiwanese horror film directed by Kevin Ko and starring Tsai Hsuan-yen, Huang Sin-ting, and Kao Ying-hsuan, alongside other cast members. The movie has a runtime of 110 minutes.
Netflix describes the movie as:
Six years ago, Li Ronan was cursed after breaking a religious taboo. Now, she must protect her daughter from the consequences of her actions.
– Incantation Review Does Not Contain Spoilers –
Taiwanese horror Incantation is just so creepy from its first moment that you feel uncomfortable and unsettled from its first moment. Giving us a flurry of incidents that a terrible curse has caused in the lives of people, you know what you’re getting into won’t be easy for our protagonist Li Ronan as she grapples with the horror of her pasta and the uncertainty of her future.
Incantation jumps from the past to the present and then back again and follows a documentary-style format to bring forth its present events.
So, what do you do when the future that you had envisioned for yourself comes with violent results? What do you do when the past comes back to haunt you when you’ve finally found yourself a stable ground to stand on? Li Ronan must make these decisions if only to save the one thing that matters the most to her.
Incantation is absolutely horrifying – you know you’re in for a spin when the protagonist films everything around them in horror movies. That never works out well for anyone. Also, you know that all of these people are damned from the first minute of this movie – the first few minutes of the Taiwanese horror present the eeriest set of visuals that I’ve seen after The Ring. It’s absurd enough for you to feel extremely uncomfortable and for you to almost believe it.
Maybe this is the truth in Taiwanese culture – a horrible truth that is sometimes best left alone. Incantation makes such great use of its atmosphere that you can’t help but clutch your chest every time something bad happens. It furthermore makes fantastic use of even silly jumpscares – you know it’s going to happen, but it’s just so effective in making your skin crawl.
Also, the fact that the past takes place in this unknown land somewhere in the boonies where the traditions and customs are unknown and the rituals just equally scary – it’s just horrifying every time we jump to the past. Unfortunately, though, there’s no respite in the present either. Incantation will make you wait with bated breath as more and more things come out in the open, one thing worse than the other.
Also, the horror in Incantation isn’t just supernatural – there’s also the added horror of Li Ronan and her estranged daughter Dodo whom she had to stay away from because of her past. Now that she has got a second chance, her past has caught up to her again – it’s her worst nightmare. The movie, along with being a horrifying supernatural tale, is also a horrible reminder of what single mothers go through on a daily basis in order to keep and take care of their children.
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You won’t be able to catch your breath while watching Incantation. It doesn’t leave you hanging with its culture and religion-rich plot but isn’t so exposition-heavy that you lose interest. Striking that balance while also delivering some horrifying images and situations is a feat that not a lot of horror movies achieve these days, and I am glad that we are at that point where we can easily watch movies from different regions. I really would’ve felt heartbroken to have missed this movie in any way.
There are also some profoundly emotional moments in the movie that ties into protecting and loving a little child – the scene where the foster home worker tells Li Ronan how much he loves him will truly make your heartbreak. There are several other moments in this thoroughly horrifying movie that will leave you emotionally drained.
Incantation is horrifying, mysterious and everything that horror movie lovers will enjoy. It will make you wish to watch the worst reality television out there, if only to forget the trauma of this movie. Thoroughly enjoyable and extremely traumatising.
Incantation is streaming on Netflix.
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