December 3, 2018 The House That Never Dies: Reawakening (Movie Review)
Back in 2014, The House That Never Dies changed the impression that Chinese Thriller/Horror films are boring. A film that gained the attention of many audiences, it is already the highest grossing Chinese Horror film of all time. Now, a few years thereafter, Joe Chien (Buttonman 2008, Zombie 108 2012) brings viewers The House That Never Dies: The Reawakening, a new chapter that makes its way to DVD on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 through Well Go USA Entertainment. Based on true events that took place at the spookiest of Beijing’s Four Oriental Haunted Houses… is it a solid sequel worth checking out?
The story picks up one hundred years after a mutiny by warlords in Beijing. A building restorer, Song Teng (Julian Cheung: The Grandmaster 2013, Final Score 2018), encounters a mansion on Chaoyangmennei Street that causes supernatural occurrences to happen to him; his wife, Doctor He Fei (Mei Ting: Unbeatable 2013, Blind Massage 2014); and his assistant, Lao Yin (Gillian Chung: Vampire Effect 2003, Ip Man: The Final Fight 2013), during their stay as he tries to complete a restoration project.
Also starring Joan Chen (Judge Dredd 1995, Lust, Caution 2007), The House That Never Dies: The Reawakening is very much a piece that attempts to go with a different flow from other modern Horror flicks. Instead, it often relishes in the classic nature of what Horror Thrillers should be. It tries to keep within that classic feel by creating an environment where these characters thrive while also keeping its historical accuracy. The house in and of itself is a character as you delve into secret corridors, aged pottery and housewares, old diaries entries, as well as old creepy preserved specimens that brings you back to the ghost of the past that hugs the walls of the house.
However, as great of a job as the locations and actors do, The House That Never Dies: The Reawakening often draws itself to predictable jump scares and a couple that are brought together by ghostly traumatic experiences. Additionally, some of the characters are often played by the same actors for past and present events. While this would have been cool to link the characters to the same bloodline, in this instance, it appears to be nothing more than a cost effective way to keep from hiring other actors. In fact, you might have to watch the film twice because it is slightly confusing at first as to why the past and present era characters are portrayed by that same actors. Nonetheless, it is still a strong story that grips the audience to the point where these things are not readily noticeable during the first watch through, and if one does notice it is not something to really gripe about.
Overall, the great story of The House That Never Dies: The Reawakening is done a great disservice due to lazy script writing decisions and the often predictability that hinder the film’s ability to really shine. That being said, it is still a moderately good international Horror movie that is still worth checking out for those who enjoyed the original and anyone who enjoys creepy houses. For these reason, Cryptic Rock gives The House That Never Dies: The Reawakening 3 out of 5 stars.