International Horror Film Review: The Bridge Curse (dir by Lester Hsi)

The 2020 Taiwanese film, The Bridge Curse, is …. well, I don’t quite know how to describe it. It’s a horror film. It’s a found footage film. It’s a ghost film. What it’s not is a particularly memorable film.

It opens with a reporter and her cameraman doing a story on five college students who disappeared after visiting a bridge that is reputed to be haunted by the vengeful spirit of a young girl. There’s a good deal of “found footage”, featuring shaky shots of the students either heading to the bridge or running around campus. And then there’s frequent flashbacks to what actually happened, which basically amounts to slightly less shaky shots of the students either heading to the bridge or running around campus. The important thing is that everything always seems to lead back to the same bridge. The bridge has a curse, by the way. The title is not a lie.

This is one of those films that’s so derivative of other horror films that, as you watch it, you really can’t bring yourself to believe that there isn’t some grand twist hiding somewhere in the film. I watched all 87 minutes of this film, waiting for something to happen that would take me by surprise. By the 20th minute, I was prepared to get on my knees and pray for a surprise. 30 minutes in, I was offering to donate 25% of my next paycheck to charity. After an hour, I was angry and I announced that I actually didn’t care whether the film was going to surprise me or not. 75 minutes in, I admitted that a surprise would be nice but if I didn’t get one, that would be okay. 81 minutes in, I yelled, “PLEASE! SURPRISE ME!” 82 minutes in, I took a break, grabbed a Coke, and played with the cat. 84 minutes in, I announced, “Surprise!,” hope in would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. However, the much hoped-for surprise never happened. Instead, this is just a standard stalker ghost film featuring a bunch of personality-lacking college students being chased around campus by a ghost who is soaking wet. Perhaps if someone would just offer the ghost a towel, a lot of trouble could be avoided.

However, despite the fact that the movie is about as predictable as the leaves changing colors in the fall, The Bridge Curse does have a few effective jump scares. The ghost looks creepy and it has a habit of suddenly appearing in the shadows. The ghost made me jump a few times. That said, the movie’s story certainly didn’t stick with me. It’s been about 30 minutes since I watched the film and it’s already disappearing from my memory. The ghost might grab you but the movie never does. It ends with the promise of a sequel but I can’t imagine what else there’s left to do with this story. I guess more students can go hang out on the bridge but, at some point, you would think people would notice that spending the night on the bridge is a one way ticket to terror. Personally, I’d probably just find a different bridge to visit, one that doesn’t have a history of tragedy and mystery. But that’s just me.

The Bridge Curse isn’t terrible as much as it’s just blandly forgettable. It can currently be viewed on Netflix.

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