Monday, October 04, 2004

Ryeong


(2004) *** (aka “The Ghost”, “Dead Friend”)

Sociology undergrad Ji Won suffers from a strange form of amnesia after a camping accident in high school. She can't seem to remember anyone or anything prior to that event, but can create and retain new memories. After an old classmate visits her, she begins to have quick flashbacks. Haunting nightmares about drowning in water begin to take over her life. Soon, her friends from high school begin to die one by one, with their lungs getting filled with water. Ji Won begins to investigate her past for an answer as to who or what is behind the murders of her friend. Although I haven’t been too impressed with other Korean horror efforts (e.g., Possessed), I decided to take a chance on this one because it came with good recommendations and was frequently compared to The Ring. Given all the similarities to The Ring, and some direct plagiarism (i.e., think of The Ring climax), this should’ve been called The Ring Redeux. This film had a decent look to it and a few really good scares. Although most of the scares were of the “cheat” variety (e.g., cat jumping out), there were some truly nerve-wracking moments. My one main problem with this, and many of the other Asian horror films that I have reviewed in the past is that I can’t keep the characters straight. At the risk of sounding racist, all the pretty Asian girls look almost identical (especially when wearing their school uniforms) and I frequently became confused as to who was doing what. Also, if you don’t pay close attention to the names (e.g., Ji Won, Sui On, etc), the climactic revelation does not pack as much punch, as it should’ve. Yes there is a twist to this story, but I’ll be damned if I understand it. I would recommend this film. Knowing that you need to pay closer attention to detail than I did will make it more of an enjoyable experience.

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