Taiwanese horror film Incantation (咒) has passed another national milestone since its release in March, after making its way onto Netflix’s charts and becoming the platform’s most watched Taiwanese film.
The movie yesterday ranked fourth on Netflix’s top 10 list of non-English-language films, garnering the attention of gore lovers and horror aficionados around the world.
Netflix data showed that Incantation scared its way into the top 10 by accumulating up to 3.24 million hours of viewership during the week ending Sunday last week.
Photo courtesy of Activator Co Ltd via CNA
Third-party data collection service FlixPatrol said Incantation was Netflix’s eighth-most trending international film.
FlixPatrol said the movie was the platform’s top film in Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam, and the second-most attention-grabbing in Malaysia and the Philippines.
In Japan, the horror film’s mythical elements even encouraged famous celebrities, such as game designer Hideo Kojima, to help promote the movie to the country’s horror fans.
The film has also attracted considerable hype in South American countries such as Argentina, Chile and Colombia, FlixPatrol said, citing its Netflix’s top 10 listings in those countries.
Responding to Incantation’s international recognition and success on Netflix, the film’s director, Kevin Ko (柯孟融), said he was surprised and humbled.
“As a director, the achievement didn’t even cross my mind in my dreams,” Ko said. “I thought this would only happen in a parallel universe.”
Ko said that while the film was critically and financially successful in Taiwan, he was initially worried that its culture-specific horror elements would not be understood by viewers in other countries.
However, Ko said he realized that his worries were unnecessary after he saw how people from around the world wrote about the film on social media, saying that its unfamiliar plot elements added a sense of mysticism.
Ko said people should watch his film using headphones to get the most immersive horror experience.
Since its theatrical release in Taiwan, Incantation has raked in NT$170 million (US$5.68 million) at the domestic box office.
The film has accomplished several “firsts,” such as being the highest-grossing Taiwanese horror film and the nation’s first found-footage style horror movie.
Its mockumentary format has had fans and critics comparing it to the first commercially successful movie of that style, 1999’s Blair Witch Project, going as far as calling Incantation the Taiwanese equivalent of the US cult film.
With its characters’ incantation of “Hou ho xiu yi, si sei wu ma,” phonetically designed to be easily repeated by audiences, and its contorted spell-casting gesture aimed at sending chills down the spines of viewers, Incantation is streaming on Netflix in multiple languages.
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