Author Archive

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: A Blood Pledge (Whispering Corridors 5, 2009)
by | November 15, 2014 | 2 Comments
In 2009, eleven years since the release of the genre-defining Whispering Corridors, and four since since the fourth entry into the series, Voice, the fifth Whispering Corridors film was released. Entitled A Blood Pledge (여고괴담5: 동반자살), it might also be the last Whispering Corridors film, as it’s now been over five years since its release... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Closer to Heaven (2009)
by | October 17, 2014 | 18 Comments
Director Park Jin-pyo is best known for unconventional melodramas like Too Young to Die and You Are My Sunshine, but when I heard about the basic premise of Closer to Heaven (내 사랑 내 곁에), I thought perhaps director Park had finally decided to make a conventional terminal-illness melodrama. And in terms of its story,... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Forever the Moment (2008)
by | October 5, 2014 | 10 Comments
Forever the Moment (우리 생애 최고의 순간, aka The Greatest Moment of Our Lives) is an underdog film about underdogs. Despite the high productivity of the Korean film industry, sports films are relatively uncommon compared to other genres. And Forever the Moment is a sports film. About handball. But despite the relatively obscurity of handball... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Voice (Whispering Corridors 4, 2005)
by | August 31, 2014 | 6 Comments
It seems to me that as the Whispering Corridors series goes on, the degree of commentary the films make about high school lessens in each installment. The original Whispering Corridors was a scathing indictment of the abuses that youth endure at school and the second pointed a finger at the rigidity of social structures and... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: If You Were Me (2003)
by | August 9, 2014 | 8 Comments
In 2001, the National Human Rights Commission of Korea was formed. A government body tasked with promoting human rights in Korea in accordance with the principles set forth by the UN General Assembly, they can probably list many things that they have accomplished. But for me, one of the most visible accomplishments is the funding... More »
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Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Wishing Stairs (2003)
by | July 14, 2014 | 16 Comments
The third film in the Whispering Corridors series, Wishing Stairs (여고괴담 세 번째 이야기: 여우계단), was released four years after the second, Memento Mori. While the original Whispering Corridors and its immediate follow-up were in many ways genre-defining, the wave of popular horror films that followed them in Korea and elsewhere in Asia meant that... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Waikiki Brothers (2001)
by | June 29, 2014 | 5 Comments
Im Soon-rye (surname sometimes romanized Lim or Yim) is quite possibly the most prominent female director in Korean cinema. Since her critically acclaimed first film, Three Friends in 1996, she’s directed six full-length feature films, including one commercially successful mainstream film with Forever the Moment in 2008, as well as contributing to several omnibus project... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: One Fine Spring Day (2000)
by | June 23, 2014 | 9 Comments
Christmas in August catapulted director Hur Jin-ho to the forefront of the Korean New Wave in the minds of many local film critics for his understated, yet captivating, style and his unexpectedly low-key approach to the typically emotionally-charged topic of terminal illness. In fact, director Hur’s work in Christmas in August was often compared to... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Joint Security Area (2000)
by | June 3, 2014 | 18 Comments
When Joint Security Area (2000) came out in theaters, it quickly became the most successful Korean film until that point, surpassing Shiri’s immense success the past year. And like Shiri, JSA is also a story about North-South relations and features an already successful cast (even sharing a major actor) that would go onto even greater... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Memento Mori (1999)
by | May 25, 2014 | 10 Comments
There are not many sequels in Korean cinema if you compare it to the endless stream of sequels from Hollywood, but sometimes a rousing success will lead to them. And the enormous success of Whispering Corridors in 1998 led to one of the most prolific series in Korean film, let alone Korean horror, with the... More »


Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Whispering Corridors (1998)
by | May 20, 2014 | 14 Comments
“School is hell.” That was the premise of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and it’s one that resonates throughout contemporary fiction, including in Korea. And given the pressures and violence that Korean students may face in school, it’s no surprise that Korean cinema set in high school is littered with stories of bullies, stress, and sometimes horrifying... More »