Voice

If Ginger Snaps is a werewolf movie centered on the relationship of two adolescent teenage sisters, then Voice is a supernatural film that revolves around numerous female relationships in an all-girls high school (Best friends, acquaintances, rivals, lesbian student and teacher, mother and daughter). These relationships fuels and adds to the complexity of the plot. The main protagonist, Young-eon, having been killed earlier by an unseen force, discovers she is a ghost the next day. The only one who could hear her is her best friend Seon-Min. She tries to save her relationship with her by communicating through voices and at the same time unravel the mystery of her death and the identity of her supernatural killer. Her killer turns out to be the spirit of a former student Hyo-Jung in love with her music teacher and possible rival to Young-eon’s voice (they both had similar singing voices), the same teacher that tutors Young-eon. Meanwhile Seon-Min befriends another student, Cho-ah, who tells her ghosts might be lying as they remember only what they want. Things turn for worse as we discover Young-eon has split-personality disorder and caused both her mother and the teacher to commit suicide: with the latter in order for Hyo-Jung to lose her voice.

This is probably the first South Korean horror film I’ve watched. I have this feeling every time I watch Asian horror that there has to be some sort of unexpected twist in the end concerning the main protagonist. True enough, it has met that expectation: Young-eon is evil! As much as I enjoyed this twist, I did not understand how Young-eon could turn so evil all of a sudden. But I guess we have to accept the split-personality disorder angle, highlighted in the scene wherein her ignorant self has a confrontation with her evil version. This was a “WTF!” moment since she displayed the exact opposite traits throughout the whole film.

I did not like the film as much as other Japanese asian horror films. Though one could notice similarities in plot, some parts of it were really fuzzy especially the flashback scenes. The death and scare scenes also came out raw, half-done and considerably boring and negates the great build up provided by the film’s excellent yet haunting score. Among examples were Cho-ah’s death by light bulb, music teacher’s death by cello strings and Young-eon’s at the hands of paper. Paper! They blew it towards the end and I think it lost most of its horrific quality towards the end. The first scene wherein Young-eon was first haunted by a dark outline was really effective and scary since it heightens anticipation of ghost’s appearance. Unfortunately, the film did not capitalize on that and fails to generate anything resembling a genuine scare, attributing to the relatively weak parts.

There is one redeeming factor in the film though, and that lies in the portrayal of life after death. It is rather perfectly poignant that when we die, those who we love are the only ones who could hear our voices. Should they forget us, we shall lose our voices to. This would hit a spot for some aspiring philosophers out there, a topic from which we could derive a deeper horror: it would seem as if our existence would depend on the ability of another to sense, hear, feel and see us.

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