THE ENCHANTING PHANTOM (2020) Reviews and overview

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The Enchanting Phantom is a 2020 Chinese romantic fantasy horror film about a naïve scholar Ning who falls in love with a beautiful demon.

Directed by Lin Zhenzhao (Restart the Earth; Snakes 3: Dinosaur vs. Python; Junkrat Train; The Enchanting Phantom; Snakes 2; Monkey King: The Volcano; Snakes; Pen Fairy vs. Sadako), based on the classic short story Nie Xiaoqian from the ‘Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio’ collection by author Pu Songling.

The movie stars Eleanor Lee, Chen Xingxu, Wah Yuen, Norman Chu, Tat-Wah Lok, Steven Cheung, Zhihong Wang and Chunzhong Zhang.


“It works as a horror film because not all horror needs to be about violence and blood. It works as a romantic movie, even if it’s a little unconventional, and it works as a fantasy movie as the folklore tale it’s based on is steeped in tradition. It’s always going to be compared to A Chinese Ghost Tale, but while they share the same characters and based on the same lore, they’re not exactly the same story.” Asian Film Fans

“Xia Xiaoming’s cinematography and Yang Shuai and Zhong Weixi’s art direction also make the most of the limited means, especially in the film’s best scene, a descent into the Black Mountain underground that does as clever and evocative use of light, fog, emptiness and ghoulish costumes as Ching Siu Tung’s original did. Too bad the film’s reach exceeds its grasps in the finale, a fight against the stone behemoth that has direly shoddy CGI.” Asian Film Strike

“Unfortunately, this film and all the Chinese Ghost Story remakes will be compared to the 1987 version starring Leslie Cheung and Joey Wong, a true classic and iconic film that’s hard to top. However, as a fantasy horror film, The Enchanting Phantom is a good looking film despite its small screen budget; it’s entertaining and moves at a pleasant relaxing pace.” Asian Movie Pulse

“Overall, I liked this movie. It’s probably not the best adaption of Nie Xiao Qian’s story, but I do admit that this movie was probably more accurate in portraying the classic tale. Many other adaptions have portrayed Nie Xiao Qian as a fox demon who falls in love with the human, Ning Cai Chen. But, in actuality, Nie Xiao Qian is really the ghost of a young woman whose family dies unjustly and is forced by the tree demon to collect souls.” Cnewsdevotee

“A brittle CGI shell of a movie that barely even registers for anyone primed by memories of the Tsui Hark series. Has one or two bits of evocative production design in the afterlife sequence, but otherwise lacks any characters, plot or action that engaged me.” Robert Dennys

“The acting was pretty good, although a little over the top in the Ning Cai Chen character. The two demon slayer characters were my favourite, they added some more comedy to the script, it would have been interesting to include more about them in the movie. The special effects, I would say, were the best element of the movie.” Steven D Rowe

“Unfortunately, despite being quite good for most of the film, the CGI here is horrible […] And that’s a shame because The Enchanting Phantom has a lot going for it. Eleanor Lee is quite enchanting in the title role. And there is some excellent set design, especially the realm of the Black Mountain Demon and the abandoned temple where they fight Angel and Devil, a hulking demon and his tiny, whip-wielding partner.” Voices from the Balcony

Original title:

倩女幽魂: 人间情

Qian nü you hun: Ren jian qing

Alternative title:

Chinese Ghost Story: Human Love


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