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We’re in Taiwan in 1962, during the time of the White Terror, and martial law is in force on the island. In this context of extreme repression, all ideas considered to be dissident are banned, and the culprits are tortured or executed. Tsuihua Secondary School is not an escape from oppression. Despite close surveillance by the military police, Professor Zhang runs an underground literary club where Wei and his fellow students learn about banned books and dream of freedom.


While the teacher is appreciated by his students, young Fang is madly in love with him. The usually shy teenage girl living in a violent home manages to open up like a book in his presence. Then Zhang disappears. One night, Fang wakes up at her desk, but the school has changed. As she wanders through the sinister corridors and other dilapidated rooms in search of her teacher, she meets Wei. Together, they must confront the ghosts and deformed monsters that have taken over the school, to find out what happened there.


At once a shocking historical drama, a melancholy coming-of-age and a terrifying horror film, DETENTION was showered with awards at the Taipei Golden Horse Awards, and garnered praise at several festivals including Rotterdam, Busan, and Fantasporto, where it received the Special Jury Prize. Adapted from the eponymous video game, this masterful debut feature from director and co-writer John Hsu creates a whimsical metaphorical universe of a gruesome metaphorical fantasy from an untenable historical context reminiscent of PAN’S LABYRINTH. In addition, its striking sound effects, sinister art direction, disturbing special effects and copious blood also evoke SILENT HILL. With a compelling story and a touching performance by actress Gingle Wang, emotion meets terror in this nightmarish horror drama that will haunt you for a long time.

  • Year
    2019
  • Runtime
    103 minutes
  • Language
    Mandarin
  • Country
    Taiwan
  • Premiere
    Busan International Film Festival
  • Director
    John Hsu
  • Screenwriter
    John Hsu, Lyra Fu, Chien Shih-Keng
  • Filmmaker
    John Hsu
  • Cast
    Gingle Wang, Fu Meng-Po, Tseng Jing-Hua, Cecilia Choi
  • Cinematographer
    Chou Yi-Hsien
  • Editor
    Shieh Men-Ju
  • Production Design
    Wang Chich-cheng
  • Composer
    Lu Luming
  • Sound Design
    Dennis Tsao, Book Chien
  • Music
    Lu Luming