I had really high hopes going into the theater to watch The Rope Curse. Asia-based horror and supernatural horror have always been the most terrifying productions to me, so I was hoping that the combination of the two would give me a quality scare. Unfortunately, I feel that it fell short of my expectations.
There is a legend claiming that when someone commits suicide, the rope that they used to hang themselves becomes cursed. The curse can only be removed by a secret ancient ritual that shouldn’t be seen by anyone not involved in the process. Despite warnings of danger, Jia-Wei and A-Guai plan on filming this sacred ceremony to get money from views on YouTube. Jia-Wei specifically wanted the money for a wedding with his girlfriend Shu-Yi. They all end up becoming more connected to the tragedy than they had hoped.
It’s a common thing now for horror films to have spurts of comedy, but I feel that this movie took it a bit too far. A-Guai’s whole character was comedic, which is a little disappointing to a horror-movie-lover such as myself who was hoping to jump more than laugh. There was only one good jump scare toward the end, and there weren’t really any scenes that had me on the edge of my seat. The movie had a good storyline, but the delivery could’ve been better. I spent most of the scenes thinking one thing about Shu-Yi’s relationship with the deceased, and it turned out to be completely different (although it’s possible that that may have been the point). One thing that probably hindered the delivery was that while the movie had subtitles, there were many scenes with conversations happening over text message, which were not captioned, so there was probably a bit lost in translation due to the fact that I do not know Mandarin. Another thing that bothered me about the movie was that the setting for many scenes felt really random. I didn’t really understand where they were at most of the time and it wasn’t because of dim lighting that’s often used in horror films. The characters just kind of ended up in weird places without explanation and it was a bit distracting.
One positive for me was that the story ended up sending an important message about bullying, which kind of gave me Carrie vibes. I wish that there had been more positives for me, as this was the first movie I’ve seen at a film festival. It wasn’t all terrible, but horror movies need to evoke strong feelings to be successful, and this one did not.