Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ghost School Trilogy|
Actors: Kang-hee Choi, Gyu-ri Kim, Min-jung Kim, Roe-ha Kim, Yu-seok Kim
Directors: Ik-hwan Choe, Ki-hyeong Park, Shusuke Kaneko
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Three of the most popular horror films in Korean history are now available in one box-set! Just in time for Halloween, these horrifying tales will be packaged in an eye-catching slipcase with a limited edition bonus disc c... more »
School is hell
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"High school can be an utter nightmare -- awful teachers, cruel classmates, and vengeful ghosts.
At least, those are the problems in the "Ghost School Trilogy," a Korean horror trilogy about ghostly happenings in all-girls' schools. Thankfully it doesn't have the cheap thrills and laughs of your usual high-school horror movie -- instead, it's full of excellent acting, creepy atmosphere, and some pointed notes on the school system.
"Whispering Corridors" opens with the tyrannical Mrs. Park (Jin-hie Park) being found, hanging from a noose. But just before her death, she made a phone call to the youngest (and pleasantest) teacher, Eun-Young (Mi-yeon Lee) -- about Jin-Ju, a girl who died nine years ago. Apparently she's still there -- and she was Eun-Young's best friend, much to Mrs. Park's displeasure.
It seems that Jin-Ju is somehow taking her revenge on the teachers who made her life a misery, including the student-molesting Mad Dog. Eun-Young starts sifting through clues -- and the abandoned art shed where Jin-Ju died -- to figure out where the ghost will strike next. But Jin-Ju is far closer than anyone has suspected...
The next movie, "Memento Mori," starts with a more shocking opener -- a schoolgirl, Hyo-Shin (Yeh-jin Park), falls from a rooftop and dies. Lots of speculation is stirred up about why she killed herself, including pregnancies, affairs, and a suspiciously close friendship with the athletic Shi-eun (Young-jin Lee). But then Min-ah (Min-sun Kim) finds a diary revealing the actual story of why Hyo-shin killed herself.
It turns out that Shi-eun and Hyo-Shin started out as simple pals, until their innocent friendship evolved into a fond love affair. But then Hyo-Shin wanted to reveal their love to the whole school, while Shi-eun didn't; then Hyo-Shin got pregnant in a teacher-student affair. And as Min-Ah finds out more than she wanted to know about the lovers, Hyo-Shin's ghost returns to confront her lover...
The "Wishing Stair" is a staircase leading to a girls' dorm, with twenty-eight steps. But you count a twenty-ninth, a fox-spirit will grant whatever wish you make. When pretty, sweet Soh-Hee (Han-byeol Park) and the shy Jin-Sung (Ji-hyo Song) are both in the running for a wonderful ballet part, it's pretty obvious that the talented Soh-Hee will win... until Jin-Sung makes a wish to win the audition.
But the wish goes wrong, when Soh-Hee's dance career is wrecked and she ends up killing herself. Jin-Sung does get the part -- along with a boatload of guilt and the hatred of her classmates. Meanwhile, the peculiar, chubby Hae-Ju (An Jo) wishes for the return of the only girl who was ever kind to her. And as she wished, Soh-Hee returns...
Technically speaking, these movies are connected only by the basic theme -- ghosts and all-girls' schools. But it's enough to link them together. But they are excellent examples of Asian horror -- the first is gorily brilliant, the second is good with an anticlimactic ending. The third is an unsteady, awkward mishmash, but still creepy and bizarre.
And the creep factor is subtle and cool here -- creaky floors, quiet corridors, a man being murdered by a curtain, or a girl sinking into dark water. Too bad the third movie uses the now-cliched girl-with-long-weedy-hair image. But it also has moments of poignancy and happiness, as well as some horribly dark looks at high school -- students brutally bullying the shy, chubby or geeky, and a teacher brutally beating a student and groping another.
There are plenty of good actors in this trilogy, particularly Mi-yeon Lee as a bright-eyed young teacher who is haunted by her best friend's unhappy life and tragic death, Young-jin Lee as a student torn between her desires, and the the doomed triangle of the final movie. Some of the peripheral characters don't get much scrutiny, though.
The "Ghost School Trilogy" unites three good Korean horror movies -- while there's a descent in quality, all three are creepy, bizarre and unique. Definitely a good Halloween marathon."