The movie was made two years ago and released the following year.
More than 700 days had passed but Shen Tingyan still remembered very clearly that the director had a long discussion with them about the filming of these last few scenes.
In those last few minutes, how could they take the audience step by step and with perfect rhythm to the final door?
So this metaphorical mirror appeared first.
In the theater that year, the audience saw the annoyed police officers, the silent Li Xueming and Zhang Yang was in the corner with his hands in his trench coat pockets, his posture relaxed and open.
It was a bit weird to them but before they could figure out the problem, the camera continued.
At this moment, in the small theater studio of ‘Studio Superstar,’ 1,000 spectators, 47 participants and four mentors saw on the big screen the annoyed police officers, the silent Li Xueming and…
Zhang Yang with his hands hanging down by his sides, mouth slightly open.
It was different from the gestures of this moment in the original work.
But it also made the audience feel a bit weird.
Before they could figure it out, the camera continued.
Shen Tingyan raised his right arm, bent his index finger slightly and pressed it against his lower lip, looking thoughtful.
Li Xueming suddenly raised his head and asked Zhang Yang, “What was Chen Tao saying to you just now?”
When he rushed up to the third floor with the officers, he seemed to see the two men talking but he wasn’t sure if he was mistaken or not.
In the camera, Zhang Yang never showed his face.
He was half-hidden behind Li Xueming’s subordinates and only an inaudible answer came out. “He didn’t talk to me, Captain Li.”
“You saw it incorrectly.”
Li Xueming gritted his teeth and slowly closed his eyes.
Then the camera swept toward Zhang Yang’s half-hidden silhouette, meaningfully staying there for a second before going black.
Once the screen lit up again, the plot reached the final memory.
This was a few minutes ago when Chen Tao climbed up to the third floor while holding Zhang Yang hostage.
Shen Tingyan watched quietly.
In his memory, he imprisoned the waist and arm of the teacher playing Zhang Yang with one hand while using the other hand to put the knife against the other person’s neck, dragging him step by step and quickly retreating toward the end of the corridor. The camera always shot it from his perspective.
At this moment, everyone also saw from Chen Tao’s perspective. He held Zhang Yang hostage and gasped while moving back step by step.
As he retreated, he said the lines that countless viewers remembered.
“The fifth murder case has the same modus operandi as the previous four but the scene of the crime is different. There wasn’t a lot of blood splattered around. Was it cleaned up or did the murderer not let the blood splash out this time?”
Zhang Yang clung to the arm that imprisoned him and struggled hard, but showed no other reaction.
Chen Tao smiled and didn’t care, as if he hadn’t wanted an answer in the first place.
He continued quickly.
“Ten years ago, the bloody-clothed serial murderer was also exactly the same. The fourth case had the same modus operandi as the first three, but the crime scene was slightly different. After the suspect was arrested, he kept saying the fourth person wasn’t killed by him but the characteristics of the victims were exactly the same and the method was the same. In addition, he didn’t have an alibi. Who else would it be?”
“Of course, the police went to investigate but found no clues in the end. Guess how I know? I lived upstairs from the fourth victim. By the way, the name of the reporter who tracked down and reported this case back then was Zhang Longhua.”
“He was your father, right?” Chen Tao finally retreated to the end, stopped and gasped. He leaned into Zhang Yang’s ear and whispered, “The ‘truth seeker’ who always runs after various murder cases, Reporter Zhang?”
At this moment, the entire studio was silent.
Everyone’s hearts were nervous. The atmosphere was so tense that their minds were drained and they could only wait stiffly…
In the original work, how was it performed here?
By the way, it seemed that Zhang Yang tilted his head.
In the whole last plot, Zhang Zhang barely showed his face. Here, he only let out a vague laugh. At this time, the figures of Li Xueming and his subordinates had already appeared on the stairs.
Then on the big screen this time, Zhao Dong’s lines landed and he paused for around half a second.
Xue Xiao’s breathing stopped.
Unexpectedly, his whole head suddenly twisted diagonally upwards, like a snake standing up and showing its aggressive side.
The big eyes with a beautiful shape actually stared directly at the camera. The pupils were pure black, so black that the bottom couldn’t be seen. It was like a deep vortex that would suck people straight in.
The corners of his mouth slightly curved up. It was an almost innocent evil and pleasure. He seemed to be silently greeting Chen Tao and the audience for the first and last time.
“Hi, we finally met.”
At this moment, the image of the sunny and righteous reporter shattered in place. The man revealed inside was a demon with an angel’s face. A presumptuous, an evil to pure skeleton. There was twisted excitement and arrogance in his swirling eyes.
A force filled with a bloody energy hit the camera straight on and burst out in front of the audience, making an explosive sound that was deafening.
There was a gasping sound from the studio again.
Guan Ruoying and Su Shijin also leaned back into the chair again.
Xue Xiao wasn’t like Zhao Dong. He didn’t make that extremely terrifying expression. It was just that by opening his eyes and looking at them, their entire body got goosebumps.
At this moment, no one would doubt that he was a perverted murderer, a copycat who hid deeper than Chen Tao and had a darker heart than anyone!
Zhang Yang and Chen Tao, these two had intersected ten years ago!
Ten years ago, Chen Tao lived upstairs of the fourth victim of the bloody-clothed murderer. He was drawn by his inner desire to kill and instinctively tried to find all information about the serial murderer.
As for Zhang Yang, his father was the reporter who tracked down and reported on the case. He quietly collected clues through his father and killed people using someone else’s hand at that time!
He was an even more terrifying criminal than Chen Tao!
He hid deeper than anyone else and his mind was more meticulous than anyone else. He disguised himself as a reporter who was obsessed with pursuing the truth of various murderers but his true purpose was to watch the bloody killings up close to satisfy his inner desires!
Why did Chen Tao kidnap Zhang Yang upstairs?
He was running out of time so he had to get answers before he died.
Why didn’t he tell Li Xueming the truth?
It was because he didn’t dislike Zhang Yang. He even thought that Zhang Yang was a very interesting person!
What about Zhang Yang?
He turned his back to Chen Tao and handed a cigarette to Li Xueming, just like when Chen Tao handed a cigarette to Li Xueming’s master. It was all to remind the other person.
All the pieces moved together and walked along the route he had predetermined a long time ago.
He knew what Chen Tao wanted in the end. He cooperated and was satisfied. Chen Tao also died without saying anything, as he expected.
How perfect was it all?
When the annoyed police officers and silent Li Xueming appeared in the camera, what was Zhang Yang doing in the corner with his hands hanging down and his mouth slightly open?
The corners of his mouth curled up slightly. It was a smile that he tried hard to hold back, but he couldn’t hold it back in the end. It secretly leaked out.
The play was finally over.
The big screen rose but the audience hadn’t recovered.
The movie ‘Praying Mantis’ was very controversial in the year it was released. The ending was obviously dark and the abrupt ending caught people off guard.
Secondly, this movie didn’t describe the tribulations that the murderer had experienced in the past or various external factors that caused him to go down this road. The murderer in this movie was a simple pervert, cold and straightforward to the extreme.
It had a great impact on the audience and the foreshadowing in the movie also made netizens discuss it for three months.
If a certain part of the movie was taken out and interpreted separately, no matter how they thought about it, the effect would be much worse than the original movie. However, Xue Xiao, Zhao Dong and Jin Xiaochen actually did it!
The performance they finally presented perfectly brought the audience back to the impact of that year!
It wasn’t until the three of them were led to the front of the stage by Jiang Quan that the audience reacted and let out thunderous applause.
Su Shijin couldn’t wait to ask, “Did you change the last plot yourself or did the acting teacher help you?”
Xue Xiao’s group had just finished their hearty performance and were still in a bit of a trance at this time.
The three of them looked at each other and Jin Xiaochen said, “The characters were changed together with the help of the teacher…”
Zhao Dong said, “So the acting method of the last part was changed according to the changes in the characters. Well, in fact, it is thanks to the acting teacher…”
This meant the last part was changed by themselves!
“No, no, no.” Su Shijin interrupted him. “What is the character? The characters are the key elements throughout the story! If the setting of the character changes, their reaction to various events will also change. Otherwise, isn’t it a purely invalid change? You guys have changed it very well. In particular, Xue Xiao. Your acting skills are very good. If you had to act according to Zhang Yang in the original movie then you must be able to act it out!”
This praise made Xue Xiao and the others even more dazed.
Guan Ruoying agreed. “Teacher Su is right. Of course, in the case of changing the ending, your current version is better. After all, Xue Xiao himself is only 24 years old. No matter how mature you are, it is hard to imagine that this baby face is 33 years old.”
The audience laughed at this.
Feng Wei was also very happy after watching it.
He touched his chin and analyzed it at length for the first time.
“The original version of Zhang Yang was an older and deeper fox. The director didn’t let Zhang Yang show his face in the end, precisely because Zhang Yang wasn’t too ‘flamboyant.’ He won’t hesitate to kill but he will definitely hide himself. So when Chen Tao exposed him, his performance was just a slight smile with his head turned.”
“Chen Tao must’ve been satisfied to get the answer before he died, but he must’ve felt itchy because he couldn’t see Zhang Yang’s face. This is the magic of the person called Zhang Yang. The end of this movie is actually Zhang Yang manipulating everyone in the palm of his hands.”
“As for Xue Xiao, the Zhang Yang you played is 25-25 years old at most. Then extrapolate forward. In the bloody-clothed murder case ten years ago. Xue Xiao’s version of Zhang Yang was only 14-15 years old at that time. If he dared to kill at such an age, he must be more presumptuous and terrifying than in the original work.”
“Then in this plot, the 24 or 25 year old Zhang Yang will choose to face Chen Tao with a straight face and let the other person see his true face. It is an age when he hasn’t fully controlled his presumptuous, murderous aura so it is a normal reaction.”
Su Shijin nodded. “Xue Xiao, you are actually a bit condescending, right?”
Xue Xiao’s mind returned. He thought about it and he replied, “Yes, it is like Director Feng said. This game is actually Zhang Yang manipulating everyone else in his hands. He is a chess player and others are just pawns in his hands. In the end, he will cooperate with Chen Tao but it is actually just a charity mentality.”
“He is arrogant in his heart. I think that it wouldn’t be surprising if he accidentally showed this arrogance when he was younger.”
Of course, Xue Xiao had been worried before making this change.
The performance technique in the original work was very controlled. He wanted to change ‘slightly tilted his head and smiled softly’ to ‘turn his head and look directly at the camera.’ This was bound to break that hazy feeling and the audience might feel that the change was too straightforward and not good.
However, Xue Xiao always felt that something was wrong if he didn’t change it.
Fortunately, Zhao Dong and Jin Xiaochen supported him to stick to his ideas. The three of them privately rehearsed the last part several times and Xue Xiao finally found the best way to perform it.