There is always something I particularly love about how Asian cinema. I am not sure how to verbalize how distinct I think it is from western cinema, but there is always that certain feel to it that I really like. More specifically, I personally tend to like Asian horror cinema more than western cinema because I find that the story telling makes it less predictable for me, or perhaps the way the plot rolls on the timeline of most Asian horror movies is different. Watching The Voice, I could see how this element of going back and forth a timeline plays a part in the movie.
Taking place in a high school, we follow the story of Young-eon, an aspiring singer whose dreams were shattered with her untimely death of which the cause is unknown. Only her friend Sun-min is able to hear her voice and the two start to speculate on how she died. As flashbacks slowly show Yeong-eon her life, I am reminded of other Asian horror films like the Thai Shutter in which there are several flashbacks that reveal to the ultimate unraveling of how things came about. In the film, it is revealed the Yeong-eon is not who she chooses to remember as parts of her darker persona are shown with her resentment from her mother. Furthermore, it is depicted that she is the one that caused the music teacher’s death, and even showed a sort of jealous nature when a Voice of the music teacher’s past favourite pupil tries to beg Young-eon to stay away from the music teacher. At this point I was confused because I could not reconcile the fact that the evil character in the film was actually the protagonist. Towards the end of it, it became clearer to me that this truly was the nature of the character, when she took Sun-min’s body for her own and it was revealed that her deeper intention was stay alive or by being heard.
The film explored good themes such as lesbianism which kind of reminded me somewhat of Grace. All the characters in the story were women and their web of relationships were explored throughout the film. There was also the theme of life after death and staying immortal despite of it. The character of Hyo-jung personified that which did not want to be buried or be forgotten. The teacher was the only one able to bring her voice to life by the fact that she remembered the student. Just as Young-eon needed Sun-min to remember her in order to still exist. It is the same pretty much in real life, when there are people that are important to us or even people that we have not completely reconciled with who die. There is always the idea that physically they are gone but alive in a sense because of us and the memories we have of them keep them existing somewhat, this is a profound truth that I think the movie tries to convey and successfully convey in the end although with a twist, as the characters who pass wish to forever stay and eventually consume those who remember them.