WELCOME TO QUARANTINE, I hope everyone has played enough video games to know how to properly execute supply runs without wasting too many precious bullets. (IF IT’S NOT A HEADSHOT, IT’S A WASTE.)
But the real question is how anyone is to know which Netflix movies are worth your time? THANK GOD I’M HERE to tell you about this movie, which is probably not worth your time, unless it is? Conjuring Spirit is a Vietnamese ghost story which means two things: there will be a vengeful female spirit with tons of hair in her face, and people will be eating pho. Have you ever seen a horror movie from anywhere in the entire continent of Asia? You have seen this movie.
Our story begins with a man yelling at a lady in a red dress about how she will have to abort their child before his wife finds out about it. (This feels distinctly like a Him Problem, but who am I.) She refuses, so he does a big ol’ murder by drugging her to sleep and burying her alive. Men are trash. DID YOU HEAR THAT, ZUCKERBERG. But before he buries her, he places a music box next to her face and says something about how this will be the last song she hears, because he is just TRYING to make a ghost. Blah blah blah she dies yadda yadda cut to An Amount of Time in the Future.
Lan, a recently-single mother with a 5 year-old son, moves into an apartment that everyone says is haunted, in an apartment building run by the aforementioned murderer, and is gifted a music box by the landlady. Just so everyone knows, WE ARE SETTING UP FOR A GHOST MOVIE. She finds weird grey goo all over the floor and in her plumbing, so she calls for maintenance to come fix it while she is out. Cue Pervy Plumber entering her home and immediately being a creepy dickbag by sniffing her underwear and kissing her pictures. MEN ARE TRASH. Fortunately for us, he is swiftly dealt with by the ghost of a lady in a red dress (picture the ghost from The Ring, or The Grudge, or Dark Water etc. etc. etc. you get it) who drowns him in grey goo in the bathtub.
While the police are sorting this out, Lan meets Vu, a cute boy who sings in a band and is new to the apartment building as well. After some flirts, Lan gives him the music box because something about “you like music, take this demon box, BYE.” Vu spends the night being haunted as fuck by Red Dress Ring Grudge and returns the box the next day, saying YO THIS IS FULL OF LADY GHOST also come see my band. She does. They’re okay. Pho is had.
Eventually Lan’s son gets so sick of seeing this ghost lady 24/7 that Lan finally goes to the landlady who gave her the music box to ask hey, why the fuck. Landlady has few useful answers except SURPRISE turns out she is a medium and does seances and has tons of spare time. This is convenient. Landlady contacts the spirit realm and lets Lan know that Red Dress likes her and wants her to find her body so that she can be peacefully laid to rest. I WONDER IF THIS HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH WHERE ALL THE GREY GOO IS COMING FROM.
Where is the body??? Will the Murder Man get away with his murders??? Will Lan and Vu bang??? What is the twist at the end that is only tangentially-related to the main story line and changes the meaning of the whole movie but also has no purpose whatsoever??? All this and more can be yours if you’re willing to sink just under two goddamn hours into Conjuring Spirit. Now let’s be clear, this is not a bad movie, in fact it’s pretty okay, and all the lead performers do a great job. But it is, minus the baffling and underwhelming twist, entirely predictable and super derivative. Just watch the original Japanese Ringu if you want to see vengeful lady ghosting at its finest. But if you’ve already done that and you’re desperate for a Vietnamese take on the genre, you could probably do worse.
I give Conjuring Spirit…….THREE HORRORS.
Also get ready for a few more of these in the coming weeks. Because nothing helps calm the anxieties of living through a global pandemic like MOVIES WHERE EVERYONE DIES.