The movie “Quỷ Cẩu”: A worth-watching film about Vietnamese folklore, everything is good except for the special effects.

Originally met with skepticism when first announced, the film “Quỷ Cẩu” has surprised audiences with its quality up to now, making fans of the genre reconsider their initial doubts.

“Quỷ Cẩu” has emerged as a strong contender in the late 2023 film race, competing against “Kẻ Ăn Hồn” (Soul Eater), and several other foreign blockbusters like “Aquaman 2” and “Venom: Let There Be Carnage.” This is the directorial debut of Luu Thanh Luan, with consultation from the renowned director Vo Thanh Hoa.

According to Box Office Vietnam, as of 11:30 PM on December 25th, “Quỷ Cẩu” had surpassed “Kẻ Ăn Hồn” and risen to the second spot at the box office. The film had already grossed over 14 billion VND, following its early screenings. The movie is rated T18, suitable for audiences over 18 due to its violent and bloody scenes.

In recent years, many cinephiles have been disappointed by movies that promised much but failed to deliver, often due to unresolved issues or disjointed scripts. As a result, every new project is met with a mix of anticipation and skepticism, with many wondering if it will be another cinematic disaster. “Quỷ Cẩu” was no exception. However, the film has proven to be different from the initial doubts.

Overall, the film exceeds expectations, offering a story with depth, a script with few flaws, and uniformly strong performances from the cast. However, the film still leaves audiences with a sense of “If only…” as it falls short in the special effects department.

“Quỷ Cẩu” draws inspiration from the famous Vietnamese folklore of the “Chó đội nón mê” (The Hat-Wearing Dog) phenomenon. The story revolves around Nam and Xuân returning to their hometown to organize their father’s funeral after his horrifying death. At the same time, Nam is hiding his girlfriend’s pregnancy from his family. While lying next to his father’s coffin, Nam dreams of his family being killed and hung like dogs. Mr. Mạnh comes to tell Nam that something will lead to the death of his entire family. Shortly after burying Mr. Mạnh, the family experiences supernatural phenomena.

The film’s script is carefully crafted, with a clear beginning and ending, telling a complete story without falling into clichés. The incorporation of the dog-eating theme is considered quite sensitive, but the crew handled it skillfully. The dog models used in the film were made of silicone but appeared very realistic on screen.

The pacing of the film is fast from the beginning, with horror scenes and suspenseful moments well-crafted and driven by clear motives rather than just relying on jump scares. However, as the film progresses, the jump scares become more frequent, yet less effective than initially. The twists at the end of the film are quite surprising and unpredictable, highlighting the film’s strength.

The chemistry between the actors is natural, especially between Quang Tuấn and DJ Mie. Quang Tuấn, known for his intense roles in the past, showcases depth in his character’s psyche in “Quỷ Cẩu,” with excellent eye acting. DJ Mie, a newcomer to the film industry, delivers a pleasant performance in her first horror film. However, she is not given much screen time to fully showcase her abilities.

Despite having a solid script and performances, “Quỷ Cẩu” still leaves audiences wanting more due to its underwhelming special effects. If the VFX had been more carefully crafted, the film would have been perfect.

Overall, “Quỷ Cẩu” is a movie worth watching, especially for its unique take on Vietnamese folklore. It successfully blends cultural elements into its storyline, honoring the beauty of Vietnamese culture and providing viewers with valuable insights into the “Chó đội nón mê” legend and other supernatural stories in general. The film’s message about family bonds, karma, and unity in life is clear and impactful.

However, the film loses points for its lackluster special effects. Despite having a strong script and performances, “Quỷ Cẩu” leaves audiences saying, “If only…” If the VFX had been more polished, the film would have been perfect.

The film serves as a lesson in special effects, and the film crew can consider this experience for future projects to make them more convincing. According to director Vo Thanh Hoa, “Chó đội nón mê” is just the beginning of a series of supernatural films based on folklore that he and his team want to bring to the screen.

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