NYAFF 2022: Terrorizers (2021)

Directed by: Wi Ding Ho & Chih Hsin Hu
Distributed by: Changhe Films

Written by Alexander Reams


It’s not until the 21-minute mark that we see the emotion that gives this film its name, terror, we know the attack is coming, it’s been advertised and frequently shown in plot descriptions. An attack on a young couple, Yu Fang (Moon Lee) and Xiao Zhang (JC Lin). In the opening 20 minutes before the attack, we’re shown their relationship, and how they met, creating a genuine sense of care for these two characters. Director Wi Ding Ho, a seasoned vet, this time joined by his wife and creative collaborator Chih Hsin Hu, both clearly love those quiet, intimate moments between lovers, especially new love, and the little glances they sneak at one another.

Then the attack hits, and this is where Ding Ho and Hsin Hu shine, carefully adding tension without the audience knowing until it is too late. We know that is going to happen, we see the attacker, and yet there is nothing we can do except sit back and watch. Ding Ho and Hsin Hu showcase their ability to collaborate and create a clear vision between the two by allowing the movement to happen without the random quick cuts and blaring noises that plague most generic American action films, instead choosing mid-range, wide-range, and dolly shots to establish all the players in the stunt, then executing it without sloppiness, in technique, and in characters, the attack is violent without seeming feral, for a reason. The story splits off into an Altman-esque style of several storylines all tying together through the streets of Taiwan. This is where Ding Ho and Hsin Hu began to lose control over the film with a lack of precision that was shown in the beginning, the editing becomes sloppier, and the camera moves less actively, which caused the film feel slow, but Ding Ho ends on a high note, pulling the film together in a solid manner.

“Terrorizers” Trailer

“Terrorizers” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the New York Asian Film Festival.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

Leave a Reply