Korean high-schools schools nest the territory of the living dead in the Whispering Corridors saga. With the ever-growing interest paid to the Asian cinematography in the 90s, the horror world started anew, with the Korean film industry being no exception. The first movie in the series came out after South Korea abolished censorship; Park Ki-hyeong (Acaccia, Secret Tears) is incisive in attacking social themes and advancing critique of the educational system, although he only directed the first one. Four other sequels followed its release, keeping some of its motifs: the nearly or entirely lesbian relationships, betrayal, competitiveness among students, the lack of solidarity between them and the setting: all-female high-schools. However, the action differs from one to another and each one has its particular message.
Spoiler alert: Ill try my best not to ruin the surprise for you, but you should be warned that I will spoil some details.
Whispering Corridors (1998)
The movie starts with the mysterious death of a retired teacher who happened to be investigating the strange case of one student. Just before, she tried to reach out to Eun-youngher ex-student, now a teacher at the same schoolto tell her what she has discovered, but she dies before ending her sentence. The plot centers around three friendships: an old tie between Eun-young, a smart, ambitious student and Jin-ju, a bullied girl believed to communicate with the spirits; the talented and trustworthy Ji-oh and shy, dependent Jae-yi; the determined So-young and outcast Jung-sook who don’t speak anymore with each other. Human bonding in the context of an exhausting, highly-competitive high-school system occupies a primal place in the action development.
The film’s two main male characters appear as problematic in the all-female institution dynamics. Mr. Goh openly harasses So-young, threatening her she’ll have to cope with it if she wants to maintain her good grades. The arts teacher is passive, rewarding dedicated students and painting portraits of them; both though seem sexually attracted to their pupils, which is not that abnormal. The girls have a full-grown body and they surround the men, who otherwise have little contact to women since they spend most of their time in school. The Lolitas aren’t happier: with little time remaining after classes, their deepest social relationships are formed with their friends or superiors. The settingthe camera never leaves the schoolinduces a strong claustrophobic feeling.
A high emphasis is put on academic scores, but the pupil’s drive into doing so is less important. So-young, pressured by her family and teachers, hunts good grades and an admission to Seoul National University, but doesn’t like studying and she couldn’t bother less what major she will pick. She could easily be compared with Ji-oh, who enjoys painting and uses her talent to release her emotions, receiving though harsh punishment and humiliation for doing so..The accent was placed before on Korean, math and social studies, meaning PE and arts were of low-importance, thus Ji-oh, despite her passion and hard work towards following arts, is considered to lack will and commitment. The kids’ misery lies in the way the adults dehumanize them, the most obvious example being Jae-yi in her endless struggle to find someone who cares, admitting that as long as she’s there for the headcount, the others don’t even notice what she really is. The passive aggressiveness of the students and the unhealthy competition between them turns them into cruel, insensitive beings (and bullies), as in Jin-ju’s unfortunate case.
The never-ending cycle that Jae-yi and Jung-sook establish contributes to suggest the system creates them and encloses them in the situation, with the return of Eun-young playing on the same idea. High-school is traumatic, disintegrates relationships and puts one against another, annihilating any means of self-expression. The scenes regarding everyday school life are not dramatic: neither of the male teacher doesn’t sleep with his student, Ji-oh doesn’t turn into a monster after being beaten and the supernatural infiltrates in the little spaces left between the scenes only to glue them together and fasten the message’s delivery. The characters are believable, the situations as well. There’s no flash mob against the teachers, no reports of unethical, disrespectful behavior or the “oh, this can’t be happening” look. Rather, they are students coping in different ways: So-young’s smoking, Ji-oh’s paintings or the collective interest for gossip. The scenes warm up the viewer and lead him to understand what happens and prepares him for the ending without spoiling the surprise.
The sequel of Whispering Corridors brings a flashier, dramatized approach which, hats down, needed a good pair of cojones to pull off. Hyo-shin and Shi-eun keep a secret out of their love relationship; the former is sweet, caring and slightly suffocating, while the latter is passive and cautious. Like the first part of Whispering Corridors, where characters find the other ones’ story, Min-ah discovers a journal of the two lovers, gradually unraveling their best and worst moments. The accent drifts on the individuals, letting only three of the girls weave the narrative line. The critique is less sharp. The students are honorific bullies, taunting and stressing over people they don’t even care about. The teacher-student relationship becomes an important part of the plot, as it leads to pregnancy and ultimately suicide. But the critique could be extended on society as well, like the shock the classmates have when the girls come out, choosing to isolate them for it.
The movie keeps the best from the first one: the all-female high-school setting, the way events slowly unfold one after another and the verisimilar characters. I can’t say I’m a fan of the cheap effects (maybe not that cheap, on a second thought), but out of the five, this one balances the best a complex story and an entertaining horror, compressing romance, horror, thriller and drama in one piece. It awakes the empathy and pity of the viewer towards the two while delivering a social and moral critique and a horror movie in one final product. The only complaint I have is with the dull ending, which left the movie with a climax that didnt lead up to anything.
Passing from my favorite to the least favorite, Wishing Stairs is a “Be careful what you wish for cause it might come true” type of movie. If you climb the 28 stairs of a campus and a 29th appears, the fox spirit grants you one wish. The protagonists of the movie are ballet-dancers approaching the auditions for Giselle. The movie resembles Black Swan a little (yes, I know it was released earlier), being loosely based on the ballet. So-hee, the pure-hearted ‘princess’ puts all her trust in her girlfriend, Jin-sung, but the latter is less than thrilled of So-hee’s presence and envies her success. She climbs the stairs and asks for the role of Giselle. Jin-sung tries then to sabotage her rival. When she fails, in a burst of anger, she admits to So-hee that she hates her and accidentally makes her fall down the stairs ( a different staircase). In the game of the two comes a strange lonely student, Hye-ju, bullied for her weight, which makes her feel too unsecure to confess her feelings for So-hee. She is granted her wish to become thinner, but she returns one more time with another plight: So-hee’s revival.
While I agree the use of the ballet was a smart move, the poor character development ruined the movie for me, on par with Ahn-jo’s weak performance. Hye-ju didn’t seem believable most of the time. The actress exaggerated, making a caricature out of her character. Jin-sung is one-dimensional, with nothing to display but her envy. The saving grace is the bubbly So-hee (though I don’t know if it’s really So-hee or Park Han-byul coming to the rescue). The relationships are off. The first two movies featured strong, realistic bonding between the girls, but the relationship between So-hee and Jin-sung is clumsily depicted. It didn’t inspire pity for So-heethe only way her partner’s contempt could have been more obvious was if it had been written on a plane banner. Hye-ju’s obsessiveness lacked consistency throughout the movie.
Bullying, loyalty and cruelty play a role here too, but in the background; the plot lines arent coherently jointed to allow the social message to get through. The tone shifted completely from the moral critique to individual guilt. The pace is either too fast or two slow, and the suspense is replaced by cheap scary shots that ruin the possible mystery. The characters raise no empathy. The plot was full with potential, but the story became only a pretext for the happenings. Wishing Stairs was too commercial and graphic to keep up with the Whispering Corridors name.
The fourth and the fifth movie will preserve little from the originals. Also set in an all-female high-school, Voices premise brought a refreshing touch: the main character dies in the first scene of the movie. Young-eon was rehearsing in the music room when someone begins haunting her and kills her with a music sheet. She wakes up the next day to find out shes dead and Sun-min, her best friend, is the only one who can hear her. Both begin to investigate her death, questioning on the way their friendship and Young-eons honesty.
The movie features great cinematography. The effects dont even come next to gore and the school offers a beautiful setting for the movie. The soundtrack, including the girls Latin songs and the immense chime bells create the perfect atmosphere. The movie focuses anyway on sounds: the spirits cant find peace and lack strength if they are left unheard; the voice becomes the only means to communicate ones self. Once Young-eon will lose her voice, she will become powerless. But the message could imply more: human relationships keep us alive and the voice symbolizes the impossibility of humans to separate from the rest.
The movie alternates the past with the present, with Young-eon having the difficult task to remember her wrongdoings and accept her ending. It lacked though something to make the plot move along, making it somewhat dull. The ending was a nice surprise and the events carefully built up to it. But besides its artistic and refined aspect, the movie is somewhere in the middle: both entertaining and boring, beautiful and sloppy at the same time. Decent, to sum it up.
The last movie features probably the most graphic scenes and playful cameras. The plot is simple: four girls swear to commit suicide that very night, but only one of them dies and (un)surprisingly, Un-joo haunts the other three girls after her death. The plot reveals the tensions existing between the members of the group and the role Un-joo played there, while drifting the so-called friends apart. The ambitious, ruthless and composed Yoo-jin manages to manipulate the other two girls into keeping a low profile. So-hee is the only one overwhelmed by guilt, while Jeong-eon struggles with an abusive father and tries to maintain her position as Yoo-jins best friend. Slowly, their secrets are unveiled as to what drove them to sign that pact.
A Blood Pledge touches upon sensitive topics without drawing any blood. Jeong-eons situation could have been better showcased. Yoo-jins character doesnt seem motivated enough; her cruelty turns her into a sociopath, making it difficult for the film to have a broader message. The ending was dramatic and so was the movie. Its main plot deals with guilt in different ways: Yoo-jin is incapable of feeling it, playing the real monster in the story, Jeong-eon pleases the others, either her father because of fear or Yoo-jin because of her genuine attachment, but ends up having little of her own; So-hee is the one with a nobler character as she thinks she lead Un-joo to do so and blames herself for not dying. In the equation, the spirit of Un-joo is the justice-maker, intruding in their lives and forcing them to follow the pledge.
Teenage pregnancy, bullying and friendships with a hint at lesbian relationships are the essential themes. A Blood Pledge condenses what all the movies brought until now: the social agenda, the critique of the educational system, the lesbian love, the ever-burdening guilt and restless spirits. However, while more entertaining, it is not as stellar as the others, managing to bring upfront only bits of its promising topics and failing to use all the potential of its characters.
The Whispering Corridors movies, with its best and worst moments, are worth watching anytime and even more savory at a second or third watch. Since most of the actresses were beginners when shooting, its a chance to discover their roots. I strongly recommend the first two: they both bring awareness over some social issues and its an opportunity to analyze a side of the Korean culture, as they are set into an average school. The third one will give you the chills, though not exactly scary. Voice will bring you to its own gracefully-crafted world and its the most appealing movie in terms of visuals. Last but not least, the final installment will take you through all the themes and make you emotional with one of the most dramatic (and longest) endings. So grab your popcorn and tell me what you thought of the movies!
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His label said, "Jay Park isn"t associated with the drug scandal at all. We don"t know this site at all, and we can"t get into touch with them because they"re now not a Korean site. It"s very shocking."
Singer-songwriter IU looks flirty and adorable at the hide of GQ!
IU is featured in the December factor of GQ with a photo shoot and interview, and she displays off her stunning figure on the canopy as she stretches her palms up above her head in a cropped top.
More shocking pictures of IU have hit newsstands this month as she’s also December’s cover lady for the mag Marie Claire.
On the November 22 broadcast of SBS’s “Running Man,” Lee Kwang Soo and Teen Top’s Niel get ready to move on a fall camping shuttle together.
Before Lee Kwang Soo unearths out who his spouse will be, he’s excited when he’s told that he'll be visiting the dorm of an idol singer, because he assumes it is going to be a feminine idol. He is terribly disappointed, however, to look Niel from the boy workforce Teen most sensible open the door.
The “King of Mask Singer” contestant that’s been acting below the call Cosmos has had a hugely impressive winning streak, yet her time at the display has now come to an end!
Cosmos has been appearing on the prove for ten weeks, winning 4 “King of Mask Singer” competitions, and is in the running for her 5th win on November 22′s episode. She blows each person away with her robust functionality of the song “In a Dream” via Jo Duk Bae.
The landscape of Korea"s retail industry has shifted over the outdated few years because of the developing selection of singles, online purchases and frugal procuring patterns. classic retail giants like branch and superstores have observed revenues drop, whilst convenience shops and online buying groceries malls are booming. Shinhan Card analyzed spending patterns via 700,000 heavy spenders who account for 10 % of general credits card users in 2010 and in March to would possibly of this year.It discovered that the share of credit-card spending at department stores, supermarkets and television house looking channels fell from 46.1 percent to 31.1 percent during the last five years, while that of convenience stores and online shopping malls rose from 30.1 percent to 43.5 percent.
◆ unmarried Men Convenience stores stood out among 14 retail sectors regarded as in the survey. according to credit card spending, convenience stores" percentage of the retail industry rose from 1.6 percent in 2010 to 5.7 percent this year, a 3.5-fold increase. In contrast, department stores" share dropped by 25.7 percent, and superstores" 34.2 percent. The share of television domicile shopping channels plunged 37 percent.One 36-year-old single administrative center employee on a normal basis department shops for groceries at the local convenience store. He buys principally milk and beverages and ready-to-eat foods for 2 to 3 at a time, with an eye on special offers. "Products are more pricey in convenience stores, yet I don"t actually purchase much", he said. He hardly ever buys brand new produce since he does now not cook at home. most effective once each and every two to 3 months does he cross to the supermarket. in terms of garments be buys online. Single men in their 30s are most commonly liable for boosting convenience shop sales. One out of each three consumers or 32.5 percent are men between the ages of 28 and 37. But a rising variety of men in their 40s also are switching to convenience stores. The intake patterns of singles here are very an identical to the ones in Japan, which saw a upward push in one-person families and an aging society 10 to twenty years previous than Korea.◆ Online Shopping Malls Online shopping malls have also received a cast share of the domestic retail market, accounting for 37.8 percent of credit card spending, which is upper than the marketplace stocks of supermarkets (18.6 percent) and superstores (18.4 percent) combined. when it comes to per-capita per month credit card spending, Koreans spent W365,000 at online shopping malls, in comparison to W159,000 at superstores and W122,000 at department stores (US$1=W1,164). cellular shopping accounted for 48.5 percent of online shopping center revenues.◆ Prudent SpendingAs unemployment remains prime among young people, buyers in their 20s are keeping their wallets shut. Credit card spending in March to may just by men in their 20s rose only W50,000 as compared to 5 years ago, and credit card spending by ladies in the age crew only W90,000. In contrast, credit card spending among shoppers in their 30s to 60s rose by around W100,000 to W220,000. Kim Dae-jong at Sejong University said, "Women in their 20s in maximum cases invest in cosmetics, clothing and accessories but are scaling down on needless purchases due to the the harsh task market. But as increasingly folks eliminate marriage till later in life, spending by running women in their 30s has increased".
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Over 10,000 reports of kid abuse were won ultimate year for the primary time as public awareness of the difficulty rises.The 10,027 reported situations last year marked a 3.7 fold building up from 2001 and a 47.5 % upward thrust from a year earlier. Reports of repeat abuse more than doubled from 494 in 2008 to 1,027 last year. Some 81.8 percent of abusers were the child"s parents.The surge is because of creating public awareness and bolstered regulations. In September last year, a different law used to be passed toughening punishment for kid abuse, and whilst that ended in more cases being reported, mavens say it has done little to curb baby abuse. "Children who were abused generally tend to abuse their own children when they grow up", stated Ki Seon-wan, a psychiatrist at World St. Mary"s Hospital. "We want to be offering coverage to abused children and train oldsters who abuse their youngsters as well".Child abuse is classified into physical, emotional and sexual abuse and neglect. Last year, 48 percent of reported cases concerned more than one of the ones categories. Abusive language, overlook and denying children food may also be just as destructive as physical or sexual abuse. Hong Chang-pyo of the National Child defense firm said, "Parents might idiot themselves by potential of thinking that they"re just disciplining their children, yet verbal abuse and punishments regularly get worse over time".The scarcity of childcare amenities could also be a bar to prevention. Last year, just 364 monitors at childcare centers in 54 spaces checked up on 61,242 reported cases of child abuse, which boils down to 168 cases being treated yearly by every person. youngsters who are sufferers of serious abuse are separated from folks and placed in one of 37 shelters around the country, but the full housing capacity of such facilities is simplest 250 children.Also wished is a program to stay watch on abusive parents for the explanation that victims themselves hardly ever file abuse. Experts call for larger vigilance and larger awareness of the various bureaucracy child abuse can take. Reports might be made by calling 112.