THE CHRYSALIS (2012) Reviews and overview

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The Chrysalis (2012)

The Chrysalis is a 2012 Chinese horror feature film directed and co-scripted by Qiu Chuji. The movie stars Sandrine Pinna, Ren Quan, Lee Wei, Cui Jie, Wendy Gao, Christa Yan and Zhan Chuheng.


Shanghai, Valentine’s Day, 14th February 2011. Hairdresser Guan Wenxin (Sandrine Pinna), the illegitimate daughter of a French man and a Chinese woman, is kidnapped by her onetime best friend, rich girl Dai Anni (Christa Yan), immobilised with muscle relaxants, and held prisoner in a flat.

Both had fallen for the same man, teacher Luo Jia (Ren Quan), while at university, and An-ni had lived with him for two years in the US; but after Luo Jia chose to propose to Wenxin, Anni has returned from the United States to get her revenge.

Anni tries to electrocute Wenxin in a bathtub but the latter escapes; during their subsequent fight, Wenxin is knocked unconscious. She wakes up, exactly three months later, on a road in the rain.

After finding Luo Jia, she discovers the flat in which she was held prisoner is now empty and Anni has disappeared. Anni’s father (Cui Jie), the psychiatrist head of Puen Hospital, confirms he last got a message from his daughter on 14 February; after putting Wenxin through some tests, he confirms she has amnesia.

Staying with Luo Jia, Wenxin keeps getting horrific visions. Wenxin now starts to believe that Anni’s ghost has taken over possession of her body…



“At its best – as in the dark, horrific opening, or a poetic mid-section in a village – The Chrysalis is impressive; elsewhere, the restless, hand-held photography and fantastical plot work against any atmosphere-building in favour of over-cooked psycho-horror.” Film Business Asia

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” …worth catching for genre fans or anyone with an interest in tracking the development of Chinese horror cinema and appropriately adjusted expectations. Though still relatively tame compared to its Western cousins and at times bordering on silly rather than scary, there’s plenty here to enjoy, and the film is hopefully a sign of better and more substantially creepy things to come.” Beyond Hollywood

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Cast and characters:

Zhan Chuheng … Chunshan
Jie Cui … Doctor Dai
Wendy Gao … Wendy
Wei Lee … Wu Guangming
Sandrine Pinna … Guan Wenxin
Quan Ren … Luo Jia
Liu Shengyue … Sheng
Jun Sun … Hui
Li Wenlong … Mao
Jing Wu … Real Estate Agent
Xiao Xi … Sheng’s Mother
Christy Yang … Dai Anni / Anne
Wenyan Zhuang … Fourth Aunt

Technical details:

96 minutes

Original title:

女蛹之人皮嫁衣 “Female Cocoon”

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