They say grief occurs in 5 stages. First there’s denial, followed by anger, then comes bargaining, depression and acceptance. But what happens when the person you lose is yourself?
Young-eon is her school’s best singer, but is mysteriously murdered one night after singing practice. The next day she finds out that nobody can hear or see her, except for her best friend Sun-min who can only hear her voice. The two desperately try to resolve the problem and soon uncover how far the rabbit hole goes.
Death will forever remain an undiscovered adventure into the unknown, for no one has ever come back from death to tell the tale (aside from Jesus Christ, of course). When the spirited Young-eon suddenly loses her life, she is caught in a daze – unable to accept her new circumstances. She reaches out to her best friend Sun-min and pleads for help regarding the investigation of her untimely death. Following Young-eon’s death, more peculiar events occur. The death of her music teacher, and the discovery of Young-eon’s body in the elevator shaft. All these incidents point to the undeniable presence of an other. Something “other” was causing all these events to happen, after all, both Young-eon and Sun-min had no recollection of anything remotely related to those events. In a surprising twist of events, the mystery of Young-eon’s death had finally cleared and it all revolved around Young-eon’s singing voice.
Young-eon had been chosen to sing in place of her music teacher because of her talent, but unknown to her – there had already been someone who was previously “the chosen one”. Hyo-jung had the same talent as Young-eon, and was also singing in place of her music teacher in class. The affection afforded to Hyo-jung was the same for Young-eon, and is rooted from the teacher’s desire for what she had lost to larynx cancer which is a skillful singing voice. When Hyo-jung misread that affection for something more, she was persecuted by her classmates and ultimately killed herself, but could still be heard by the music teacher from the afterlife. All these people wanted a voice, Hyo-jung, the music teacher, and Young-eon, and fought fiercely for the right. Hyo-jung killed Young-eon in jealousy, and Young-eon killed her music teacher in retribution and to silence Hyo-jung for eternity, but death could not stop Young-eon from keeping her voice in the afterlife.
In the film “Voice”, it was revealed to Young-eon and Sun-min that the pair’s strong connection is the reason why Sun-min could still hear Young-eon’s voice. But once the “hearer” moves past this and forgets about the deceased, the deceased will no longer be heard and will lose his voice forever. Loss is very difficult to accept especially when what is lost is the self. Young-eon still had a bright future, but when she was treated as an “other” and a threat by Hyo-jung, it lead to her demise and the becoming of the “other” herself in death. This interplay of the “other” in life and death was very interesting to me. Ghost stories are what I find the most horrifying, because unlike monsters and zombies I find them the most plausible. The possibility of resurrection is so seductive that ghosts most often remain in the realm of the living, but once you are separated from “this world”, how human could you be or ever be again? The presentation of the familiarity of human life, and the otherness of death is what I like about Voice, but I hope to forever remain unexposed to the something “other” in death while I still live.