The Chrysalis – aka 女蛹之人皮嫁衣 – is an 2012 Chinese horror feature film directed and co-scripted by Qiu Chuji.
The movie stars Sandrine Pinna, Ren Quan, Lee Wei, Cui Jie, Wendy Gao, Christa Yan and Zhan Chuheng.
Shanghai, Valentine’s Day, 14 Feb 2011. Hairdresser Guan Wenxin (Sandrine Pinna), the illegitimate daughter of a French man and a Chinese woman, is kidnapped by her onetime best friend, rich girl Dai Anni (Christa Yan), immobilised with muscle relaxants, and held prisoner in a flat.
Both had fallen for the same man, teacher Luo Jia (Ren Quan), while at university, and An-ni had lived with him for two years in the US; but after Luo Jia chose to propose to Wenxin, Anni has returned from the US to get her revenge.
Anni tries to electrocute Wenxin in a bathtub but the latter escapes; during their subsequent fight, Wenxin is knocked unconscious. She wakes up, exactly three months later, on a road in the rain.
After finding Luo Jia, she discovers the flat in which she was held prisoner is now empty and Anni has disappeared. Anni’s father (Cui Jie), the psychiatrist head of Puen Hospital, confirms he last got a message from his daughter on 14 Feb; after putting Wenxin through some tests, he confirms she has amnesia.
Staying with Luo Jia, Wenxin keeps getting horrific visions. Wenxin now starts to believe that Anni’s ghost has taken over possession of her body…
“At its best – as in the dark, horrific opening, or a poetic mid-section in a village – The Chrysalis is impressive; elsewhere, the restless, hand-held photography and fantastical plot work against any atmosphere-building in favour of over-cooked psycho-horror.” Derek Elley, Film Business Asia
” …worth catching for genre fans or anyone with an interest in tracking the development of Chinese horror cinema and appropriately adjusted expectations. Though still relatively tame compared to its western cousins and at times bordering on silly rather than scary, there’s plenty here to enjoy, and the film is hopefully a sign of better and more substantially creepy things to come.” James Mudge, Beyond Hollywood