A brutal rape. A serial killer. A multiple homicide. An act of vengeance. All these happened to a family of four, who appear normal to outsiders.

The Mysterious Family is a Sino-Korean flick adapted from a real-life tragedy in Fujian, China, that became one of the country’s worst homicide cases ever.

In the original tragedy, the wife was assaulted while the husband was away. After being caught and sentenced for his crime, the rapist sought revenge. Following his release from jail, the perpetrator killed the whole family of four, the husband and wife and their two children.

In the movie version, the daughter is raped and loses her memory. Then, the rest of her family gets murdered, leaving the poor girl to unravel the mystery. What dark secrets does her family harbour? Will she uncover the skeletons in their closet?

Directed by South Korean helmer Park Yu-hwan (Memento Mori, 2016), The Mysterious Family features a star-studded ensemble cast, including Hong Kong’s Kara Wai, Taiwan’s Ariel Lin and Blue Lan, as well as China’s Jiang Wu and Chen Xiao.

With such a diverse multinational cast, communication would have been the biggest challenge, and veteran actress Wai confirmed as much during a recent phone interview.

“The movie was not hard to do. But there were so many different languages spoken on the set: Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, English. So, just trying to figure out what everybody was saying was a huge challenge,” said Wai, 57, who recently won the Best Actress award at the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards for Cantonese film Happiness.

The veteran actress was impressed by the multi-lingual skills of her co-star Lin, 34, who is proficient in Mandarin, English, Korean, and Japanese.

“I’ve never worked with her before. But, I found that she could speak many languages. She could even communicate with the Korean director, and help to translate. She is diligent and smart; it is very nice to work with someone at such a high level of work ethic,” Wai said.

Lin returned the praise, saying Wai was very warm and encouraging to her juniors. “She is very professional, and has a very strong stage presence and engaging charisma. She does not hesitate to share tips on shooting action scenes,” shared Lin.

Although playing a long-suffering mother may not have been as physically-challenging as her usual action-packed roles, Wai somehow sustained a serious injury during the filming of The Mysterious Family.

“This time my injury was quite serious, because my eye was affected. I was lying down in that scene, and a basin dropped from above,” she said.

“Luckily, I saw a shadow. It actually felt like I was in an action movie. I quickly turned to my side. But, I was not fast enough. So, it struck me in the corner of my eye. There was so much bleeding, that nobody dared to come forward at first. Everyone panicked at the sight of blood, as they thought that my eyeball had ruptured.”

Wai also stars in action flick Mrs K, helmed by Malaysian director Ho Yuhang.