DIRS: Kim Sun, Kim Gok | Dragons and Tigers | South Korea | 2011 | 106 mins | In Korean with English subtitles
Sat, Oct 8th 4:00pm | Empire Granville 7 Th 7
The South Korean film White mixes a girl band growing pains story with elements of the box office horror genre. Directed by Kim Gok and Kim Sun, White is packed with more laughs than terrifying moments. The film certainly has an interesting way of portraying the cutthroat business of the music industry … and what happens if you rip off a ghost’s getup.
The Pink Dolls is a four-piece manufactured girl group that finds its dated squeaky-clean image not hitting the right notes with modern audiences.
The band is humiliated in the opening scenes when it loses a reality show competition. The audience prefers a more Pussycat Dolls style of act of overnight achievement and the high life.
With The Pink Dolls looking like music industry dummies, their mysterious sponsor buys the group a new home equipped with recording and dance studios, everything the young professionals could want.
Suspicions grows about how the chartless band got this luxury home until its members later discover that the last tenants died in a fire.
The lead character Eun-joo finds a stack of old video tapes whilst cleaning the dance studio. As fate would have it, she picks up the VHS labelled “White”. Many eyes rolled in the cinema at this point, as the resemblance to The Ring (2002) was clear, however there is no curse involved in watching the video as the story goes in The Ring.
“White” is the ghost of a woman who was killed by her own band mates in the house now occupied The Pink Dolls. White has an instant hatred for leads singers especially those who try to copy her image. Apparently she is still subject to earthly passions, despite being of the spirit world…
And copying her image is exactly what the desperate band members proceed to do, while reaping the rewards of fame and success.
However, there is a catch. Each of the girls, apart from Eun-joo, that wears the white wig and takes centre stage, suffers horrible consequences. Even then, the movie doesn’t kill them off. Just when you think you’ve seen them all for the last time, they recover in time for the end scenes.
Eun-joo has the false hope that if she solves the mystery of White, she can stop the ‘killings’, and in the meantime, she continues to perform.
The final scenes in the film see Eun-joo win South Korea’s biggest music prize on a live TV event as a solo artist. Suspense is built up as Eun-joo’s friends, her vocal coach and record producer discover White is an evil ghost and Eun-joo is her next target. Talk about timing…
The action is camp, cheesy and predictable but the directors seem fully aware of this, purposely constructing an unrealistic chain of events. Its value lies as much in the comedy as in the horror.
Who knows? This movie could be a concept open to Hollywood in a Glee meets The Ring combination The High School Musical Project. Any takers… anyone…?
Gian is a recent UK Journalism graduate who has a passion broadcasting and a nose for news. You can follow him on Twitter @gmfalcone