Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
A Different And Disturbing Atmosphere For A Haunting Story
Stephen B. O'Blenis | Nova Scotia, Canada | 06/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The first of a series, "Whispering Corridors" is a ghost tale set in a private school, focusing mainly on a former student returning to the school as a teacher and on a pair of friends who are sort of borderline outcasts among the student population. It's a hard movie to give a description on because it's quite cryptic (not a bad thing) with much becoming clear only in the latter portions of the film, but I'll try and give my take on it without delving into much beyond the halfway point. Even in the final shots a lot is still left to the individual's interpretation.
First of all, the school in the movie is Not a nice place, as becomes subtly apparant early on and more overt as the film progresses. It's one of those places that seem to be universal on the planet where too many people with too little character and too much of the idea that they should be able to do whatever they damn well want to whoever they want are running the show, and in this case it seems the student body is falling right in line with their less than admirable teachers, though in a less open, more deceitful way. The conflict of the newly arrived teacher with the established hierachy within this one school is a well-handled, though 'quiet' subplot.
It becomes quite brutal and harrowing in places, not because of the level of violence (it's far below that in many other horror movies) but because of the unnervingly casual nature of the cruelty. And this - in a rather unexpected way - plays into the nature, genesis and motivations of the entity whose activities have recently come into play at the school. A really stunning and dramatic finale leaves, in my estimation, plenty of room for a sequel, although apparantly (I haven't seen them yet) the follow-ups are only loosely related or bound by 'theme'. They sound like they're probably good, and I'll see them, but a more direct sequel to this one would still be welcome. Or then again, depending on your take on what the final moments mean, perhaps that's not all that feasible. My personal interpretation is that there's still lots of uncharted territory in the future of these characters waiting to be explored.
Great acting all around, although admittedly some of the technical aspects could have been better (an uncommon trait for the horror movies I've seen coming from Asia), including some of the effects which, while not ridiculous-looking, could have been handled better in certain scenes. Not a major glitch.
A deep and disquieting movie that calls for more than one viewing; uncomfortable to watch in places but ultimately highly rewarding; thoughtful and scary.
Perfect Setting for a Great Plot
Suree Snyder | Recluse, Hermosa Beach | 04/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love the acting in this movie. These girls are top notch holding their roles together, without the make-up and the brand name clothes. Everything just sails naturally.
The setting is a private girl's school, where the girls have their own cliques. One girl who is "psychic" befriends an unpopular girl. They have art in common, and the psychic lass doesn't mind having to tot the dorky girl in school, despite disapproval of the general consensus.
These girls are faced with school angst (you know, in some places in Asia, the teachers can give you a hidin'), a horrible Homeroom perv teacher, a hiding place girls go to after school and rebelliously drag a smoke, etc. But above all, the school has a pretty alumni as a brand new teacher.
Now this Miss Alumni has a bad history in that school. In the past, she also befriended an unpopular girl. Pressured to dump the awkward friendship, the unpopular girl was locked in one of the rooms and burnt to crisp.
Get it now, we see in here a pattern between the past of the Miss alumni, and the psychic girl's pairing with the dork??? That's the base of the story for this movie.
Go with the flow, it makes good sense in the height of the movie. It IS absolutely enjoyable to watch if you are seeking a non-gore film, in a realistic atmosphere, with characters that are down-to-earth, smoothly blended in a story that leaves no cavities in your pondering mind."
Whispering Corridors is a classic Asian Horror Film
Jackie White | New York, NY USA | 04/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whispering Corridors is a totally scary, and entertaining horror flick from Korea. It's easy to see why this was the first of an explosion of Asian Horror films like the Ring and the Grudge, because the director, Park Ki-Hyung is definitely well versed in American horror and uses his understanding of the genre to make the movie really appealing to any American horror fan. Whispering Corridors is the first in a trilogy of films. The first death in the movie and all of the rest are really reminiscent of the slashers like Friday the 13th and other late 70's early 80's American horror which are the staples of the genre. If you like horror films and have seen the best ones, you'll immediately see why this one fits right in to that group. What's really cool about it, is that there's no CG (computer generated effects). All of the blood and deaths etc. are all done with real actors, and it's almost more believable than the over-the-top current American horror genre. There's something so tangible about the blood in the film. It's bright red, and creeps the viewer out in a way that CG children running around (like in the Grudge) could never fully achieve.
The whole film takes place around an all girls school-- and with girls in uniforms and mysterious murders, you've got the makings of a great horror narrative. The first 20 minutes really suck you into the story as Ki-Hyung moves the camera much like 70's DePalma or Hitchcock--It's seductive. The school building becomes horrifying in and of itself. The way Ki-Hyung presents the school makes it like an evil edifice similar to the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick's The Shining.
The tone is similar to Rosemary's Baby in that the girls are consistently trying to figure out what the problem is-they want to get to the bottom of it, but the forces out of their control, i.e. the school teachers, get in their way, and they get in trouble. The grainy look of the film and the way the sound design/score are used is totally an homage to the classic horror films of the 70's. In the movie, the Korean school system is depicted as an evil force that represses the girls, abuses them, and ultimately is the motivating force that makes the one girl commit suicide and become the ghost who murders her enemies throughout the film. The performances by the girls are great. And the colors of the film are so dreary, that you can't help but feel like you're there. The end of the movie has a really amazing image of the two main girls alone in the classroom with blood pouring out of the walls and the ceiling. Overall, this film is really entertaining, and psychologically interesting, and will scare the crap out of you. The Tartan DVD release is pretty awesome. It has trailers for a lot of Asia Extreme films, 5.1 surround sound, photos, and English/Spanish subtitles."
Better than average, a rare film worth seeing!
R. Grubb | Minneapolis, MN USA | 01/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I tracked down this film after happening upon the far superior "Memento Mori," and although I didn't enjoy this quite as much as its arbitrary sequel, I would still recommend it. Both films fall into a category that has grown in recent years, with films such as "May," and "Ginger Snaps," which I would call "Female Horror." Traditional horror films often focus on male villians and heroes. Women are secondary, and are often portrayed as helpless victim and non-person. While not exactly feminist film, "Female Horror" is significant because it focuses on women and girls as people, whether they are victim, hero, or assailant.
A former student returns to her alma mater as a teacher. As she is haunted by memories of a childhood friend who committed suicide, the school is plagued by the mysterious deaths of cruel teachers. This aspect of "Whispering Corridors" almost suggests a version of "If..." in a girls' school. I had read about the controversial scenes containing images of teachers brutalizing students, and I assumed the worst. I thought I would see girls in ponytails and school girl uniforms getting spanked in an exploitive manner. But instead, the girls are portrayed as people, and we see how the verbal and physical abuse effects them. One girl has the desire to paint, but is told that her painting is too horrific. She is beaten in front of the class, and her painting destroyed by the teacher.
A particularly nasty male teacher gets a dose of schoolyard justice in one of the most effective scenes in the movie. Here is something you don't see very often in a horror film--an underdeveloped male character gets whacked in a pretty nasty way when he is found in a vulnerable position by a female. If you're watching a horror movie, and you see a woman walking down a dark hallway by herself late at night...it doesn't really matter if you know who she is or not, you can pretty much guess what's going to happen to her. Although we can't see who the assailant is, we can tell it's a girl. Many Dario Argento films feature female killers, but the original assumption is that the killer will be a man. When we learn the killer's true identity, it's a surprise, because we are expected to think a female would not be capable of such a thing. It's interesting and unexpected to see the traditional horror film gender roles reversed.
I would give this film 3 stars instead of 4 because unfortunately, it isn't all that scary, and therefore doesn't function very well as a horror film. However, the character development and original story make it enjoyable. The ending, while not exactly an M. Night Shyamalan-style "shocking twist," is very surprising, and an idea I don't think I've ever seen used anywhere before. If you're interested in Asian Horror, or female-centric horror, I would recommend "Whispering Corridors.""