TROUBLE CITY

DVD REVIEW: GHOST, THE (RYEONG)

Home VideoDavid OliverComment

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STUDIO: Tartan Video
MSRP: $22.95
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:
• Cast interviews
• Behind-the-scenes featurette
• TV spots
• Trailer

The Pitch

A lot of Asian chicks are getting wet lately...

The Humans

Ha-Neul Kim, Sang-mi Nam, Bin, Yi Shin, Hie-ju Jeon, Yun-ji Lee.


The Ghost, starring: Asian Hottie #1, Asian Hottie #2, Asian Hottie #3, Asian Hottie #4...



The Nutshell

Ji-won is a Korean college co-ed who is recovering from an accident that has left her completely amnesic. With her past a complete blank, she’s in the process of planning to study abroad to get a fresh start, even though her alcoholic mother isn’t thrilled to see her go. What puts a kink in her plans is that she’s starting to have visits from a rather soggy ghost who seems intent on driving her crazy. Furthermore, said ecto-soggy is also bumping off a group of young girls who used to call themselves Ji-won’s friends, and Ji-won has absolutely no idea why any of it is happening. As she starts to piece the mystery, and her past, together, she finds out way more than she ever wanted to and the whole thing ends up with a freaky twist straight out of early Shyamalan.


"...and special guest star Michael Jackson."

The Lowdown

Okay, let’s get the obvious out of the way right up front: Asian horror filmmaking has been overrun with soggy and/or stringy-haired dead chicks lately: The Ring, The Grudge, this film, and probably a dozen that I haven’t even seen yet. The effect (only at first) was pretty unusual and unique, but it’s quickly been run into the ground. Asian horror filmmakers need to come up with something new but quick. What’s surprising is that it’s not only Japanese filmmakers, but Korean as well.


"So who do you want to portray you in the American adaptation?"
"I was thinking somebody classy...you know, Paris Hilton maybe...how about you?"
"Brad Pitt."
"Yeah, you know, I think I see a resemblance..."

That being said, The Ghost takes more than a page (at least a couple of chapters) from the current Asian horror playbook in the form of the water ghost who’s dispatching young, hot Asian chicks. If this keeps up, our cheap American clothing market produced by Asian sweat shops is certainly going to suffer. Nevertheless, I did find The Ghost, although a patent example of the current trend, to be a pretty well-made little scare picture, although - and forgive me for saying but it’s true – I was getting utterly lost in trying to keep up with the players because several of them looked very much like each other. There’s around 10 young Asian actresses within the first half of the film whom I just for the life of me couldn’t keep straight. However, I attribute this to the fact that I'm pretty much terrible with names and faces.  Regardless, some of them are doing an Asian Ouija board bit to call upon the ghost and then only one of them is seen from there on sans flashbacks, and the girls whom I thought were certain characters weren’t at all and it took more than one viewing to get them lined up.


Current photo of a New Orleans resident waiting on FEMA...

However, once Ghost began making some semblance of sense, I found that the mystery was crafted fairly well, even though it was practically painted in pink neon that Ji-won, the main character, was involved with this ghost intimately, even though she didn’t know why. The writing is pretty solid and although it’s straight by-the-numbers, it’s culminated with a twist that I didn’t see coming in a million years. This is Scream or Sixth Sense-type of twist that I just in good conscience can’t spoil here, but in a story that follows the current Asian horror trend like fat kid after an ice cream truck, it’s definitely original. There’s also the usual jump scares, overbearing ghost and water symbiosis, and enough stringy hair to fill a couple of salons, but all in all, this is a pretty good flick.


Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction to The Ring 2...

The Package

The film looks good, and the director has a nice touch, even though much of it you would have seen in The Grudge or The Ring – Asian or American versions. The whole thing is in Korean for some reason, but you get your choice of not understanding it in either Korean Dolby 5.1, 5.1 DTS, or Korean 2.0 Dolby. There’s also cast interviews that last about five minutes, a behind-the-scenes with a music video sensibility that lasts for two minutes, TV spots and theatrical trailer.

7.4 out of 10