This film definitely had a different vibe to it than the rest of King Hu’s films that we’ve seen. It seemed like a darker story with less wuxia action and more ghosts and suspense. Maybe knowing that this is the last film King Hu got to release affects my interpretation, but it does give a sense that he is less ambitious with his experimentations and action scenes. I think this is also because he was a more experienced filmmaker by this time.
This was both good and bad for me. I’ve learned to expect something crazy and ridiculous to happen at some point in King Hu’s films, and often near the ending, but this film just flowed normally and nothing really popped out. It feels like this is one of his more serious films and the special effects weren’t too out of control.
I thought he did a good job with the twists. There was seduction from a ghost to a human, as we saw in Legend of the Mountain. The yin and yang king was interesting. I wasn’t quite sure how that girl got stuck in there or why she had to go to hell, but I liked the fact that each scene really flowed into the next and the reverend had a good character arc in this film. At first he is consumed by growing his peach trees and in the end he sacrifices it, which leads to the ghost’s exit to hell.
Introducing the baby in the end and glancing at it after receiving the scroll painting left that a little up in the air, but overall, this was a good film because of the fact that everything else flowed well and tied together in the end.