Debuting to Rave Reviews, Chinese Drama ‘The Bad Kids’ Cuts Deep

Directed by a former punk rocker, the wildly popular psychological thriller is driven by complex characters, including three children who inadvertently film a cold-blooded murder.

It’s a pristine day, and substitute math teacher Zhang Dongsheng is out for a hike with his elderly in-laws. As they stop for a rest at a craggy overlook, Zhang whips out a large camera and motions for the couple to pose as they’re seated together on a boulder against the backdrop of a cloudless sky. The soft-spoken younger man moves closer to adjust their posture and suddenly — as if momentarily possessed — shoves them from their perch, sending them tumbling to their deaths.

“Dad! Mom!” Zhang screams in feigned horror before the scene cuts to the series’ eerie opening credits sequence.