Variety, 00년 3월 27일
Dubbed locally as "Whispering Corridors 2," due to its meld of sapphism and the
supernatural at a girls' high school, "Memento Moil" is in fact a very different
kettle of fish from the surprise Korean hit of 1998. Less viscerally creepy and
with no subtext on the stifling rigidity of the country's education system, this
debut by two young writer-directors is an impressive blend of style and innovative
structure that's let down by a ragged finale. Result looks likely to haunt the
lest circuit during the coming months, especially in buff-oriented slots.
Helmers Kim Tae-yong and Min Kyu-dong, who previously collaborated on several
shorts, have taken an established genre -- teenage femme sexuality and its
destructive force -- and turned it on its head with a fresh approach. Through
flashy use of whiplash visuals and digital sound, the movie mixes flashbacks
with the present in a way that becomes clear only after a while, creating a
female hormonal hothouse that makes for compulsive viewing most of the time.
Pic is largely shown through the eyes of the virginal Min-ah (Kim Min-seon), who
discovers an elaborate diary-cum-scrapbook that appears to chart an intense
friendship between fellow classmates Shi-eun (Lee Yeong-jin) and the dour-faced
Hyo-shin (Park Ye-jin). The 17-year-old pair also have some kind of telepathic
When Hyo-shin apparently commits suicide, it turns out hers is the sixth death
at the school, and one more death will cause the school to be closed. Min-ah
finally shows the diary to two classmates (Kim Min-heui, Kong Hyo-jin) and
starts to investigate Hyo-shin's death. Gradually becoming spooked by Hyo-shin's
ghostly presence, she uncovers a tale of sexual jealousy that also involves
Hyo-shin's relationship with a male teacher, Goh (Paek Jonghak).
Helmers have gussied up a basically simple story of love and betrayal with an
off-center mix of handheld camerawork (for emotional moments) and highly worked
visuals (for supernatural effect), creating a seamless suspension of disbelief
that works well until they have to resolve the plot in the final act.
Last reels, with the pupils trapped in the school by the vengeful spirit of
Hyo-shin, seem hollow after the careful, atmospheric build-up.
Performances by the young cast are all good, with the hatchet-faced Park
particularly memorable. Technically, the movie is top-drawer in all departments.
Korean title simply means "Girls' High Ghost Story."
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