Director: Ahn Byeong-ki
Aka - Ouija Board
Aka - Witch Board
Back in 2004 Korea was waist deep in horror films and knee deep in ones that
took place in girl schools. Like much of Asia at the time, their horror films
were very much influenced by those from Japan with long haired ghosts frequenting
a number of them. There were a few real stand-outs like A Tale of Two Sisters,
Phone, Memento Mori but most of them though well produced and looking good,
fell short of their goal of scaring the hell out of us. Still entertaining
though but after a while they begin to feel familiar. This one falls into
that category. It is directed by Ahn Byeong-ki, who had made Phone two years
before this (and even has a short cameo here by the little girl who was terrifying
in that film) but it doesn't reach the scare standards of that film. He followed
this one with Apt in 2006 which was solid as far as I recall. Since then
not very much from this director other than three Bunshinsaba films that
seem to have been made in China with a Chinese cast.
That said, this is a quality film with a few solid jump scares and a number
of gruesome deaths that keep escalating but the second half loses its way
and rhythm by trying to explain what is going on by a series of flashbacks.
And then still having a murky ending that left me totally puzzled. But the
first half is terrific as it builds up slowly with a few mysterious deaths
and a high school girl with 3-D eyes in a 2-D movie going insane. There are
some chilling moments primarily provided by those eyes just starring with
rage. I wonder how the husband of that actress must feel if he wakes up at
night and sees her looking at him. Creepy eyes. Full of hatred.
One theme that runs through many of these Korean girl high school horror
films is cruelty. A group of mean girls making life hell for others.
This high school is set in an isolated town where newcomers are not welcome.
When Yoo Jin (Lee Se-eun) and her family arrive from Seoul she becomes an
immediate target for bullying by a group of girls. She doesn't appreciate
it and with two other girls she performs a ritual that calls for a spirit
called Bunshinsaba to come forth and punish her tormentors. But she warns
the girl not to open their eyes during the ritual or bad things will happen.
But Yoo Jin is the one who opens her eyes and sure enough bad things begin
to happen. All the names on the list begin putting bags over their heads
and setting them on fire - but it begins to appear likely that the spirit
she called forth was not some ordinary run of the mill spirit but that of
Kim In-sook, a girl who died 30 years ago in a manner that no one in the
town is willing to talk about. But this revengeful ghost has just begun her