Hoarse

Here is our first Asian film and it takes place in the all-too-familiar all-girls high school, similar to other famous Korean horror films (i.e. Memento Mori, which actually sprung from the same movie). There have been so many psycho-thriller movies in the past how many years that anything related to Dissociative Identity Disorder (more popularly known as Multiple Personality Disorder and usually mistaken for schizophrenia) is no longer such a thrill. What makes this twist new in Voice is that the psychologically disordered is no longer human but ghost. This strange twist brings about one central theme: the idea that expression is what makes one exist.

I would classify this in the stream of both The Fantastic and Psychological, though more of the Fantastic; since, the element of fear came mostly from the feeling of being surrounded by a supernatural and unknown entity which was the ghost of Hyo-Jung. Young-Eon is murdered by the ghost Hyo-Jung because Young-Eon is the reason why the music teacher had forgotten Hyo-Jung. In the movie, the premise of the existence of ghosts and being able to hear them is that the person still living should not forget the person who died or her voice will no longer be heard. On this note, the movie is able to convey one of the scariest thoughts about death. It is that of being forgotten, unheard, and irrelevant. We course through life trying to do something meaningful in order to leave a legacy of some sort, and this makes life and death all the more significant. I think that’s why Hyo-Jung stressed out about Young-Eon — she felt that death became more real because she was a ghost, entirely voice-less and without any meaning.

Andrew Tudor says that horror is made sense of by the values/social practices of the audience, and are more often than not historically grounded. This being said, horror movies have become an avenue for taboo and the “voice” of reason (ironically) for a certain time at which it is made. In Voice, there was a subtheme of sexuality, which may be very taboo for the Korean audience, but since it was in a horror film, it made it a little easier for them to swallow. Furthermore, there was that idea of fragmented relationships. By fragmented, I mean being in a relationship (platonic or romantic) where people aren’t completely truthful or there are many secrets that are unbeknownst to the other (quite similar to the movies Gothika or What Lies Beneath) — we’ll never know we’re in one until something happens. Young-Eon and Sun-min were in such a relationship, and Sun-min was the one to suffer in the end, when she did not uncover the truth to Young-Eon’s death and who she really was.

It’s difficult to think about the movie in terms of the audience it was intended for or to stray from certain “universal truths” as Andrew Tudor says we should. This is because we are not specifically the audience it was intended for. However, it’s safe to say that Voice pinpointed crucial themes that human society and the individual has pushed far back into its memory.

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