Tag Archives: South Korean

Phone: A Movie by Toilet Pictures

I think the production company says it all when it comes to describing where this movie belongs. The second the Toilet Pictures logo flashed up on the screen, I knew this movie was, in fact, going to be a big piece of poop. But wait! There was one good aspect to the movie! Other than that it was crap. But let me explain…

Phone is a movie about a young journalist named Ji-won. She let loose the floodgates on some sexual predators and is seeking refuge away from the limelight. She moves

Some scary images, not much though…

into her sister and her husband’s second home (rich right?) and lives there until things die down. She changes her number to the only one that the telephone company could get for her (998-6644 or something…) and lives in solitude. But she is still getting these calls from stalkers. And then some inhuman voice of a woman being tortured. Scary, right?

Am I Kawaii desu?

From this point, Ji-won is on a mission to discover who had the number before her and what happened to them. What happens implicates a lot of people in this love affair/ murder plot that gets a little too complicated for a movie storyline. And that’s where the film lost me.

The acting… wasn’t that bad. I feel bad now looking up the woman who played Ji-won, Ha Ji-won (why didn’t they change her name?) and

This girl is a game changer.

realizing she’s an acclaimed actress in South Korea and was nominated for her performance in this film. She wasn’t bad, but I don’t think any of the actors in this movie grasped the entire concept of supernatural horror film in this one.

But there is a little girl who understood what it was to be in a horror movie. Eun Seo-woo did. Playing the adorable niece of Ji-won, Yeong-ju, Eun Seo-woo was a dynamo in this movie. She was always cute, but she delivered such a mature performance when she was possessed in the film that I was actually surprised and chilled. Her character develops an Electra complex and falls in love with her dad,

An nyoung? (That’s hello in Korean.)

and she does it so well. And she’s like 6 or 7 and saying “Shit” onscreen! Her performance deserved an Oscar or award or something, because I fell in love with her and her combination of comedic terror in the movie. It was wonderful.

The rest of the film was average. There were some scary moments but nothing to severe. The Grudge-like long black hair always gets me but that was about it. It didn’t go anywhere horror movies haven’t gone, and was almost tame enough for a thriller film. It had the twist of a thriller film, which I appreciated, but wasn’t dark enough to seal the deal. I’ll give a nice try to Ahn Byeong-ki and Toilet Pictures, but you may wanna change the production company name… It throws out the wrong signals. 5.2 out of 10.

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Whispering Corridors

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.