Detention (2019 film)

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Detention 2019 movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Mandarinfǎn xiào
Directed byJohn Hsu
Produced by
  • Lee Lieh
  • Lee Yao-hua
Written by
  • John Hsu
  • Fu Kai-ling
  • Chien Shi-keng
Based onDetention
by Red Candle Games
  • Gingle Wang
  • Fu Meng-po
  • Tseng Ching-hua
  • 1 Production Film Co.
  • Filmagic Pictures
  • Asmik Ace
Distributed byWarner Bros. Taiwan
Release date
  • 20 September 2019 (2019-09-20) (Taiwan)
  • 5 December 2019 (2019-12-05) (Hong Kong, Singapore)
  • 9 January 2020 (2020-01-09) (Malaysia)
Running time
105 minutes
BudgetNT$95 million
Box officeNT$260 million[1]

Detention (Chinese: 返校) is a 2019 Taiwanese psychological horror film. Set in 1962 during Taiwan's White Terror period, a boy and a girl are trapped alone at their hillside high school at midnight. While trying to escape and find their missing teacher, they encounter ghosts and the dark truth of their fate.

The film was adapted from the popular horror video game of same name developed by Red Candle Games from Taiwan. The film was released on 20 September 2019 in Taiwan.[2][3]


In 1962 Taiwan during the White Terror martial law period, Fang Ray-shin, a female student at the hillside Greenwood High School is attending counselling with teacher Mr. Chang, and they gradually fall in love. It was a dangerous period where sensitive books were banned and free speech were restricted, but Mr. Chang secretly organised a study group for banned books, together with fellow teacher Miss Yin and male student Wei Chong-ting.

One day, Mr. Chang disappears. Ray-shin and Chong-ting then wake up in the middle of night in their empty school and are trapped inside. They must now escape the school and find their missing teacher. The school building has become a place where demons rampage and they will have to confront the truth and dark historic past in their school. Can they survive?



The film production rights were purchased on 21 June 2017 from Red Candle Games by 1 Production Film Co.[4][3][5] The first film trailer was released on 19 June 2019.[6] The film's budget was roughly NT$95 million.[6] The story and game is based on true events, specifically the 1947 Keelung Senior High School incident [zh].[7] A portion of the film production took place in Kaohsiung.[8] The film score featured a live orchestra of forty instrumentalists.[9]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
2019 56th Golden Horse Awards Best New Director John Hsu Won [10]
Best Adapted Screenplay John Hsu, Fu Kai-ling, Chien Shih-keng Won
Best Visual Effects Renovatio Pictures, Tomi Kuo Won
Best Art Direction Wang Chih-cheng Won
Best Original Film Song "The Day After Rain" Won
Best Feature Film Detention Nominated [11]
Best Leading Actress Gingle Wang Nominated
Best New Performer Tseng Ching-hua Nominated
Best Action Choreography Jimmy Hung Nominated
Best Film Editing Shieh Meng-ju Nominated
Best Sound Effects Dennis Tsao, Book Chien Nominated
Best Original Film Score Lu Luming Nominated


A review in the Taipei Times described the film as "likeable...chilling but not downright terrifying." Compared to the video game, Han Cheung opined that the film felt "simplified" and that it overemphasized its White Terror setting without focusing on the political background of the period.[12] Director John Hsu stated that the film drew a younger audience than he expected.[13]

Detention made NT$67.7 million three days after its premiere in Taiwan, becoming the third-highest take of first three-day gross for domestic film, behind the two-part film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2011).[14] It is the highest-grossing domestic film of 2019 in Taiwan.

Following a boycott of the 56th Golden Horse Awards by Chinese filmmakers,[15][16] Detention received twelve award nominations, the most of any film that year.[17] However, due to the sensitive plot of the story, the film is banned in China, and mention of the film is scrubbed from all mainland Chinese websites.[18] The film is referred to as "xx" in Chinese media's Golden Horse nomination reports. In Hong Kong, the release date was pushed back to December in order to avoiding association with the ongoing Hong Kong protests. It is scheduled to be released on 5 December 2019 in Hong Kong.


  1. ^ "2019 Taiwan Box Office Statistics 12/23-12/29" (PDF). Taiwan Film Institute.
  2. ^ DeAeth, Duncan (20 June 2019). "Film adaptation of Taiwanese survival horror game 'Detention' coming in September". Taiwan News.
  3. ^ a b "'Detention' film based on Taiwanese horror game is announced! Would you return to the society of denouncing spies?". Agent Movie (in Chinese). 19 June 2019.
  4. ^ 李秉芳 (22 June 2017). "Detention will soon move to the silver screen, Taiwan first cross-platform collaboration for the between movie and game". Taiwan People News (in Chinese).
  5. ^ Prescott, Shaun (25 June 2019). "Taiwanese horror game Detention is getting a film adaptation". PC Gamer.
  6. ^ a b Yen, William (17 September 2019). "Taiwanese psychological horror film `Detention' to hit screens". Central News Agency. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  7. ^ Liao, Leslie (September 30, 2019). "Taiwanese hit film "Detention" based on true story". Radio Taiwan International. Retrieved October 10, 2019.
  8. ^ Ko, Yu-hao (23 September 2019). "Kaohsiung denies suppressing film". Taipei Times. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  9. ^ Tsai, Chi-mei (4 October 2019). "Taiwan's New Box Office Hit 'Detention'". CommonWealth Magazine. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  10. ^ Grater, Tom (November 23, 2019). "'A Sun', 'Detention' Top Winners At Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards". Deadline. Retrieved November 23, 2019.
  11. ^ "Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards Unveils Nominations Amid China Tensions". Deadline. 1 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  12. ^ Han Cheung (26 September 2019). "Movie review: Detention". Taipei Times. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  13. ^ Lan, Tsu-wei (21 October 2019). "INTERVIEW: Adapting 'Detention' to screen was a challenge: Hsu". Taipei Times. Translated by Hsiao, Sherry; Hetherington, William. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  14. ^ Chen, Pin-hung; Hsu, Elizabeth (23 September 2019). "'Detention' box office 3rd highest among domestic films since 2011". Central News Agency. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  15. ^ Grater, Tom (1 October 2019). "Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards Unveils Nominations Amid China Tensions". Deadline. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  16. ^ Frater, Patrick (1 October 2019). "Golden Horse Awards Almost Completely Devoid of China and Hong Kong Nominees". Variety. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  17. ^ Yen, William (1 October 2019). "Local horror film leads Golden Horse Awards nominations". Central News Agency. Retrieved 4 October 2019. Republished as: "'Detention' grabs 12 nominations for annual film awards". Taipei Times. 4 October 2019. Retrieved 4 October 2019.
  18. ^ Beach, Sophie (29 September 2019). "Minitrue: Find and Delete Information about Taiwanese Movie "Detention"". China Digital Times. Retrieved 2019-10-10.

External links[edit]