“Incantation,” Taiwan’s all-time highest-grossing horror film, spooked international audiences after it gave them a “curse” through Netflix back in July.
Warning: Major spoilers ahead
The terrifying found-footage horror film, which stayed in Netflix’s Global Top 10 (Non-English) Films for five full weeks, tells the story of a mother named Li Ronan who tries to save her daughter from a fatal curse.
At the start of the film, viewers are asked to help Li by repeating a mysterious chant to help lift the child’s curse: “Hou-ho-xiu-yi, si-sei-wu-ma.”
The film became viral in part due to the ingenious trick it plays on its audience. Near the end, it is revealed that the chant that viewers repeat while watching the film is actually a means to transfer part of the child’s curse onto them.
Fortunately, the film’s actors have recently set the record straight for anyone who has been wondering whether they’re actually cursed or not.
Actor Kao Ying-hsuan, who plays a foster care home manager in the film, tells NextShark that the chant is just a Chinese saying which means ”Good fortune follows upon disaster; disaster lurks within good fortune.”
“When you try to chant it in Hokkien dialect with a special tone it could sound like you heard a creepy curse,” he shares. “But it really is a fake chant, so it will do no harm. Please relax. Or you can just say your prayer instead.”
Kao adds that their director Kevin Ko and art director Otto Chen “made up a believable religion” for the film.
Meanwhile, Tsai Hsuan-yen, who plays Ronan, also guarantees that no harm will come to anyone who utters the chant.
“You can rest assured that the whole story is fictitious, and even the religion in it is false,” she notes. “Everything is created by directors, screenwriters and artists. So feel free to follow along with me. The most important thing is that your thoughts can change the world, and good thoughts will bring good results.”
According to Kao, the curse “was actually spread out of love from a mother to her daughter. I think love makes you strong and also makes you crazy that you would do such silly things. But most importantly, if Ronan didn’t have that love for Dodo, she wouldn’t do such a thing.”
Tsai agrees, saying, “There is a mother’s endless guilt and love for her child. It is a love letter from a mother to her daughter as well as a suicide note. To me, the film is actually a drama, just wrapped with horror elements.”
A former theater actor, Tsai considers playing Ronan a-once-in-a-lifetime role and hints at similar projects in the future.
“I really didn’t think that this movie would be very popular in Taiwan and then be loved by audiences all over the world,” she says. “We will continue to work hard and bring better content for the fans. Finally, thank you so much, I love you all!”
Addressing global fans, Kao adds: “I’m really happy that we have such a success on Netflix.
We are so sorry that we scared you but not sorry to scare you to death… Thanks for all your support, love and hate. We wouldn’t have achieved this much without you. You guys are the best and bravest!”