The movie is 《封门诡影》 and it starts of with the fear of abandoned villages as if the reason was for villages being emptied out was supernaturally evil. Fengmen (literally closed door) Village was inexplicably abandoned. I’ve never never seen Blair Witch, but this movie seems kind of like, but with ghosts and dodgy fengshui. Our intrepid hero teaches psychology and has issues because unable to understand evil within his cognitive framework. It’s all in your mind. But not really. Cut to evil cackle.
The movie’s narrative structure moves between the characters’ psychologically damaged present and how they ended up that way. As in Hollywood films, a group of young attractive hipsters want to explore the village remains even though they are repeatedly warned to stay away because…evil. Lurking evil. They loose connection to the outside world. They follow voices into tunnels. Their have gendered responses to their experience. Fighting, sex, fear, and general chaos ensue. The psychologist maintains they’re having hallucinations because there’s no such thing as evil.
Here’s the rub: none of this explains why the villagers vanished. Why did the evil take root in a remote mountain village? Why don’t the urban hipsters listen to the warnings? And why can’t I emotionally connect with the lead characters? Is it simply because the ideological critique writes itself?
As soon as we bring a brute Marxist perspective to the questions the answers are obvious:
The evil ravaging the village is an effect of isolating the village from society and opportunities to improve their lives; urbanization already killed it off. The hipsters don’t listen to the warnings because they came from uneducated peasants. So the fear derives not from the fact of life-sucking evil village, but rather from the fact that these hipsters never should have encountered this particular kind of evil, begging the question, “Can we really find our way home?”
And the answer is NO! Because all this chaos is also a metaphor for heterosexual relations. The kind girlfriend is replaced by a nymphomaniac without a heart. The fetus dies. And we are left alone in an asylum to learn that all along it was a murder mystery and the question is: did he or didn’t he try to kill his girlfriend so that he could marry his boss’s daughter. And the reasons for why the village had been abandoned never really mattered.
Cackle. Cackle. Cackle.