A pregnant woman and her husband visit her aging grandmother in the rural mountains of Taiwan only to witness the older woman's disappearance through the will of a malevolent mountain spirit.
"The Visit" by Roxy Shih
Letterboxd profile: boxd.it/pd4E
Check out our Q&A with the filmmaker:
Name a Horror character you relate to on a spiritual/personal level?
This is probably horror-adjacent since it leans into camp/comedy, but Winifred “Winnie” Sanderson from Hocus Pocus is probably the closest. I feel like I’m behind a hundred years sometimes lol and there nothing like the female community (my witchy sisters) to make me feel supported. With our feminist coven, we’re usually “up to no good”- which is dismantling the patriarchy and fighting for intersectionality and inclusivity! J
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I actually started recalibrating how I see “bad ideas.” I don’t think there is such a thing. When I was younger I used to beat myself over how something wasn’t perfect right away. But if an idea sticks to me, there’s a reason why... and all I have to do is to spend the time refining the idea and building upon it. Don’t question your instincts. Everything is a budding seed, and it just takes tenderness and nurturing to fully bloom.
Do you consider yourself part of a horror community?
Yes! I emerged as a filmmaker in genre so I consider the space a great place for exploration, world building, and creative expansion. The community itself is incredibly inspiring and supportive. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.
When you’re building the world of your film, where do you look for inspiration?
It’s usually sparked by a theme that’s running through my head, or an idea that I’ve been circulating around. Once I ground that theme, I’m able to frame it as a story through the eyes of character, then use that to lay the groundwork of the genre and world.
For THE VISIT, the world takes place in my homeland of Taiwan. The breathtaking landscape and mystical pull of the land provides a nourishing foundation for the horror element, and the narrative is rooted from my experience of feeling like an outsider despite generations of my family having come from there.
What would you do if you woke up inside of your film?
Probably comfort. I really like the quiet solitude of the mountains and the safety of dense fog. Others may find it unnerving, but I prefer it.
What scares you, and does it inspire your storytelling?
Real life scares me. For me, horror exists in our every day, with and without our knowledge. It’s what you choose to extract from reality and how you amplify what you’re experiencing or what you see to examine through your microscope within your story.
And finally, Ghostface would like to know ‘What’s your favourite scary movie?’ Psycho. Hands down.