Film Review: ‘The Mysterious Family’ (Hong Kong, 2017)

1024 788 East Winds Film Festival

The European premiere of ‘The Mysterious Family’ took place on Friday afternoon at the fifth edition of the East Winds Film Festival. Directed by Korean writer-director Park Yu Hwan, this suspense thriller was only released a month ago in China. The Sino-Korean film cast consists of actors from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.

The story was inspired by a real-life murder case that took place in Fujian, China. In the original incident, a whole family was brutally murdered by a man who had been convicted of raping the mother.

‘The Mysterious Family’ portrays a family of four. The daughter Miao Miao (Ariel Lin) was brutally attacked and raped by a stranger (Blue Lan) who managed to escape trial and get away with what he did.

The incident led to a great mental trauma – Miao Miao does not speak and acts out, causing further disturbances in the family. She only focuses on her running practice and ignores her mother’s attempts to connect with her.

On Christmas Eve, Miao Miao hears that a serial killer is on the loose while she is training. Later on the same day she notices someone following her, and a sinister chain of events start to unravel. She is forced to relive her family’s brutal murder repeatedly, trying to figure a way out of the agonising loop.

Ariel Lin does an amazing job as playing the abuse victim. She manages to portray the mental symptoms which occur from severe trauma, making her character very much credible and authentic. When the story progresses she starts to break through from her shell in order to break the vicious cycle.

The film features elements fit for an immersive thriller: an unreliable protagonist, a looping narrative and an inhumane villain from one’s worst nightmare. The story keeps the audience guessing and captivated, living through the never-ending misery with Miao Miao, hoping that she will find a way to save her family.

Review by Laura Millasnoore

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