In returning to one of my favorite genres of horror, the Asian horror film, my girlfriend and I watched the first in a string of popular South Korean horror films set in the Asian all girls high school setting. In this 1998 film, right after the restraints raised after the censorship that held down filmmaking in Korea, this movie, at its best point, raised issues about keeping down a populace of people. The physical and emotional abuse felt at this school of depressed teens created an environment for horror. Not that this film is based on fact, but this dated film from a country barely scraping the surface of horror is a good first attempt.
Let’s summarize. This movie focuses around the lives of three senior students, Young Jae-Yi, Lim Ji-Oh, and Kim Jung-Sook, three differing students who encounter a hanging suicide outside of their school on the first day of classes.
I quite enjoy this, although it's from the fifth one...
Discovering this recently deceased teacher brings up issues of what brought her to this end and who may be responsible. In the same vein of a former student’s death at the school, Jin-Ju, these girls must discover exactly what happened through a journal of Ju-Jin and her secret female lover in a school of taboos. The end may leave you shocked, but who knows? I didn’t really understand what was happening until it was explained to me.
The topic of this movie was quite interesting, but, for a first attempt it was a mediocre delivery on just exactly what was being examined in South Korean film. I’m proud to say for the South Korean population that, since then, there have been quite a few good Korean films that I am a huge fan of. (The Host, The Good Bad and Weird, and A Tale of Two Sisters – check out the review!) To discount this one as just a fluke would be folly, as its just a first attempt in what has turned into a long line of success. The franchise as a whole, I’m not sure about, but I will give this movie the review it deserves.
This is about as scary as it gets.
It’s been a while since I watched this, but there were a lot of genuinely good lines that stood out to me in this film. I would say this derived from a good script, and that’s probably where the creativity started. The journal and its function in the story created a voyeuristic look into the lives of the other students in the school that I found darkly interesting. The issue of lesbian love and experimenting in an all girls school creates a comment on Korean society and the repressed feelings of the masses. In what I could only imagine as a delving into the mind of a deranged sociopath, this movie follows two lines of plot. That of the past and present. When the two collide through the survival of a student lover, the movie takes on the horrific twist that leaves a jarring, supernatural feel that at the same time as it disorients, it poetically ends the film.
I can’t really comment on the acting as usual with a film with subtitles, but I suspect the acting couldn’t be half bad. The youth of the movie could have struggled, but coming from a society with strict schooling, it could be a releasing of some pent up energy. The suspense lags from time to time, but the dark and sinister nature of the film really carries it along. The ending, as I said, is quite strange. If you don’t see it at first, you may need to watch the last 15 minutes again. Otherwise, as it did with me, it may pass over your head. So enjoy, if you can, and give this first in a long string of suspense/horror films from the good ole South Korea a chance. I’d give it a solid 6.2 out of 10 for a first attempt.
The evil minds of Korea at work.
2 Comments | tags: 1998, A Tale of Two Sisters, all girls high school, Asian horror film, dark, deceased teachers, delving into the mind, environment of horror, female, first good attempt, good lines, good script, growing list of good Korean films, hanging suicide, interesting topic, jarring ending, Jin-Ju, Kim Jung-Sook, lesbian, Lim Ji-Oh, past and present, physical and emotional abuse, repressed population, restrictive censorship, secret lover, senior class students, series of horror films, sinister nature, sociopath, South Korean, strict schooling society, student deaths, subtitled film, supernatural, The Good The Bad The Weird, The Host, voyeuristic, Whispering Corridors, Young Jae-Yi, youthful actors | posted in Movies
Hey all you readers out there! It’s been too long, so now I’ve returned in full force! Expect over the next few days to be reading over 10 new posts! I’m pumped and I hope you all are too. So let’s get down to this.
A little while ago, I watched Casshern Sins, the story of a mecha dramatic tragedy in which the world is ending and there’s no glimmer of hope in sight. And who is this tragedy all due to? Casshern. The misunderstood tragic hero of this tale is said to be invincible. By destroying the Sun Called Moon, Luna, Casshern has gained invincibility and is now sought by all robots to be consumed. Why he is sought to be cannibalized, you may ask? Casshern, with his everlasting life, appears to be the only cure in a world that now is overrun with the Ruin. The Ruin is a disease of sorts that begins to slowly errode the machines. With their metallic bodies rusting, it seemed as if the immortality that had been achieved by humans and robots alike. With the meshing of these two races into one race against time, Casshern must rediscover his murder of Luna and the world in which he has destroyed.
Now, to tell the truth, this anime threw me for a loop. I had caught the first 4 episodes at Anime Boston and I found it to be dark and interesting. With a sort of
The interesting art of Casshern.
animation and drawing style I’d never seen before, the first 4 episodes seemed to flow with a slow undercurrent slowly building. Never having seen what Masaki Takei has done before (it seems as if he’s written/created smaller works dealing with sci-fi/fantasy) I was intrigued with the way in which this anime looked. With swooping hairstyles and slender, fluid characters up against the blocky, brutal masses, this sci-fi drama blends the worlds of what’s real and what is seen as the apocalyptic future into one.
Eric Vale gives a stirring performance as Casshern.
What really caught my eye about this anime was some of the voice acting. Not knowing which characters would remain constant after the first 4 episodes, I found Eric Vale, the voice of Casshern, to be a compelling and distant character. His innocent voice withholding power to end lives creates a construct in a character often show in control, but that’s the last thing that Casshern is. Lyuze (Brina Palencia) gave another angle to Casshern Sins with a character with a soft side and revengeful edge. Another few actors that round out the top actors of this anime are Jerry Jewell, Shelley Calene-Black, and Jason Douglas, characters that’re introduced later in the anime.
And now I come to the bad point about this anime. The cyclical nature of this anime is its downfall. Despite the draw of the first four episodes, the following 20 episodes follow in the same fashion. Casshern, on his journey of discovery, comes across characters with tragic and emotional pasts. And what happens? He passes on past them and continues on his way. Either through destruction or heartbreak, Casshern can’t seem to come to terms with those around him and his uncontrollable power. But this anime, if you can get past its monotonous pace, really makes up for this in its art style and fluid animation in a rigidly dying world. So I encourage you to check it out. I give Casshern Sins a 5.8 out of 10. The Abyss is back in full force!
If anything, the fluidity may blow you away.
Leave a comment | tags: Anime, Brina Palencia, Casshern, Casshern Sins, compelling, control, cyclical, dark, dramatic, Eric Vale, fantasy, humans, Invincible, Jason Douglas, Jerry Jewell, Luna, Lyuze, machines, Masaki Takei, mecha, monotonous, repetitive, robots, sci-fi, Shelley Calene-Black, slender characters, swooping hair, The Abyss, the Ruin, tragedy, unique drawing animation style | posted in Anime/ T.V.