Taiwanese movie Secrets in the Hot Spring may officially be labelled comedy horror, but there’s a surprisingly touching story at its heart.
The film opens as Xiaogin (Zhang Ting-hu) moves school for the third time in a year. At the end of term, his grandparents invite him to the hot springs hotel they run.
Xiaogin brings two classmates with him: Little Princess (Hong Yan-xiang) and Lu Qun (Lin He-xuan), who see the trip as a way to escape the school bullies.
But when they arrive, the hotel is so gloomy and mysterious, it’s clear to the boys that there’s something strange going on. Could it be haunted? Can they work out what lurks beneath the steaming hot springs and get safely back to school for the new term?
Horror films often rely heavily on music, and the soundtrack, by Thai composer Terdsak Janpan, plays a major role in creating a spooky atmosphere. You really feel as if you are in the hotel, taking part in the boys’ adventure.
The film is also noteworthy for its portrayal of the relationship between the three boys. At the start, they hate each other, but as the situation deteriorates, their bond improves, and they come to trust and rely on each other.
Unlike most horror movies, director Lin Kuan-hui manages to convey an important message in her film: don’t forget your dreams.
Edited by Ginny Wong