The first Asian horror film shown in class, the Voice reminds me of Triangle in a way on how its story line goes, especially when the lead character discovers herself as the monster she is fighting all along. Young Eon, a top singer of an exclusive high school for girls, is suddenly murdered one night after a song practice in an exclusive-girls school. With her spirit still lingering and trapped within the campus, she finds comfort in her best friend Sun Min who only hears her voice. After certain revelations transpiring throughout the film, we eventually notice how Young Eon has a double-edged personality, turning from good to bad in the process.
While I highly appreciate how the movie attempted to create the plot twist, the execution was really short of smooth sailing. For me, the flashbacks were properly sequenced but the manner that the movie shows it, that is whenever Young Eon crosses a hallway, is kind of lame and could be done in a better manner.
Diving into the movie, it mainly talks about relationships, particularly at the level of deep affairs between individuals. In the movie for instance, Young Eon initially faces this horror in relationships: being forgotten by her best friend, Sun Min, as she starts to hang out and interact more with a new friend, Cho Ah. The particular act of Young Eon losing her voice to her only communication line to the living world can be seen as really difficult, more so horrific, for her, especially because it will eventually happen sooner or later as Sun Min gradually accepts that her friend is dead. At this surface level, we see how the notion of being separated from the people we love is truly horrific especially given the context of our own relationships with others.
More than this, however, the movie becomes even more horrifying with the element of extreme jealousy in relationships as can be seen at how Hyo Jung and Young Eon killed their rivals for attention. In this manner, we can see how a normal and somehow lovable girl like Young Eon can be changed psychologically and emotionally because of such unfortunate occurrences, on top of the possible notion that she is really schizophrenic. This reached the pinnacle when Young Eon, as desperate as she is, killed Cho Ah and assumed the body of her best friend, Sun Min, in the end. While it may be argued that Young Eon is just psychologically incapacitated and that the movie portrays a psychological stream of horror, the movie shows to us how one can become truly a selfish being in our own ways, which can be motivated by the quests for love, jealousy, revenge, and attention.
Bearing the personal notion of the movie being under the stream of psychological horror, we can see that while the scenes from the movie are not actually far from reality no matter how absurd and weird the characters like Young Eon can be. Just look at the news and we can already see jealous lovers killing their rivals, husbands killing their wives, wives castrating their husbands, and so on. In fact, it is true at how people can go so far because of love and relationships to the point that they change personalities: from good to bad, from serene to violent, a real horror that every one of us can see and can be – a proof that this horror movie is just an abnormal representation of what the human being can be.
Transcending the overall cinematography, the movie offers interesting views about Asian horror and the overall horror genre itself. First, there are no significant male casts in the movie unlike in the other horror movies we have watched where there is always a minor male character. The film is practically dominated by females even in the aspects of friendship, love, and relationships, which can be seen in most horror movies. Be it an attempt at power, a punishment, or a tool for submission as in Linda William’s article, the movie in particular shows to us how Young Eon suffers for her being a “bitch” especially in meddling with the music teacher and how she eventually confronts her doomed fate when she sees the monster as herself (the “gaze”) by transferring in the living body of Sun Min in the process. Next is how the movie shows to us the dynamics in relationships, especially within the context of the friendships between women and somehow touching on lesbianism. Lastly, the movie offers very little explanation on what is really happening especially to Young Eon (why she is trapped within the school, how she can move herself to a new body, why she has a dual personality, and a lot more), unlike other Asian horror films like Shutter and The Ring that give closures in the end. This gives me the notion that the movie also touches on the fantastic stream of horror – that we ultimately cannot really know the sources of the unknown and can do nothing but to accept what will be. In the end, Voice gives me the audience a very weird and chilly feeling after watching it, especially at how Young Eon transformed from being the good to the bad, catalyzed by her voice metaphorically slowly fading away to those important to her.