Director:  Lee Woo-cheol
Year: 2005
Rating: 6.0

Country: Korea

I felt impatient with this Korean horror film at times but I still kept watching because it was just different enough and strange enough to suck me in. There are some creepy moments that had me wondering why I was watching this at 2:30 a.m and it is filled with quiet dread that creeps towards you like a dying mewing cat. This is the kind of thing that tends to invade my dreams. Maybe time to make a sandwich instead of going to sleep.

The film poses an interesting question that is never answered - how much of what is taking place is real or is it the delusions of insanity and guilt. Even at the end you can't be sure. I like that uncertainty.  A theme that runs through it is the inability to communicate within this in theory respectable nuclear family. Communication is muted or literally mute and later you suspect why. On the first run through it may just seem like another ghost story but is it even a ghost story. This is the only film the director Lee Woo-cheol made. I have to wonder why.

The main protagonist is Mi-ju (Sung Hyun-Ah) who is a cello instructor at University. From the beginning she comes across as cold and detached and her reliance on pills to calm her down spells trouble down the road. At home she has a husband who is too busy, a daughter who can't speak and never smiles, another little girl who is a doll, the sister of her husband and they take on a housekeeper who can't speak because she swallowed acid to kill herself. Ghostly things begin to happen - small things at first - then the dog is killed and it gets worse. As the possible backstory unfolds you realize that Mi-ju may be guilty of some terrible past action but is it guilt that is creating these apparitions or is someone looking for revenge. Is she even awake or in a coma. Is it all a nightmare? Is it an endless cycle on the karmic wheel? I guess we will never know.

Better than I expected going in. I thought this would be about a possessed cello that murdered people with its strings. Certainly, listening to solo cello music for long can kill you, but the cellos in this film are perfectly innocent though I can't say no cellos were injured in the making of the film.