The first Asian horror film to be shown in class, Voice, strays away from, at least for me, what Asian horror tends to produce. Haunting images are usually expected with films like The Grudge or The Ring. Voice focuses on a more psychological fear, for me, the fear of being forgotten, the fear of not being heard. Young-Eun’s mysterious tragedy unfolds slowly, with her relationship with Sun-Min, also slowly deteriorating because of the psychological toll it takes on her. It’s an intricate story and by the end you’re still not sure what happened. Throughout the movie the audience, just like Young-Eun is kept in mystery as we both don’t know what is happening. Young-Eun tries to adapt to every day life even as a spirit. This change that occurred in her didn’t stop her from trying to find out what happened, trying to get back to normal.
Where other mainstream Asian horror films go to visuals for horror, Voice goes for sound, and throughout the movie, we get this eerie vibe where something strange occurs with sound, whether it be Young-Eun practicing and she hears a different voice singing with her, or when they went up the elevator, shrouded in darkness and a high-pitched scream rockets toward them. This plays along with the title, and the background of the characters, Young-Eun being a singer, Sun-Min a DJ. I honestly had a hard time trying to piece together how all the mysterious things came about. When Young-Eun was talking to the spirit who explained what happened, I didn’t know which was real anymore. It could be that it is really meant to be confusing or that I really just didn’t get it. One theory is that the spirit possessed Young-Eun to try and get retribution for stealing the attention of the music teacher, one way it manifested itself was when Young-Eun forced her mother to jump off the hospital, now I’m not sure if this is just the spirit trying to mess up Young-Eun, if Young-Eun really did it, or if she was possessed. I guess it all applies to what Cho-Ah told Sun-Min, that a spirit remembers what it wants to remember, it’s all confusing because you don’t know if Young-Eun is the one who distorts the truth, or if the spirit is the one that distorts it, I guess iust adds to the mystery that the film wants to build.
As i’ve said earlier, it also plays with the fear of being forgotten, being left behind by others. Throughout the film we see Young-Eun being overly dependent with the people in her life. First her mother, being diagnosed with a sickness, then after her fall, Sun-Min did her best to be there for Young-Eun in spite of her mother’s loss. When she mysteriously becomes a spirit, she desperately tries to keep in touch with her bestfriend, because once she is forgotten, then her spirit will lose it’s voice. It hits home because there is that lingering fear of being forgotten, that sometimes you are being too much of a burden for those you love that you feel they would rather forget you. There’s that fear that when you’re gone, will someone still remember you? These feelings are brought about by the film even if it does so in a slow pace. Though Voice’s concept is a little confusing for me, it did allow me to offer some sympathy for the horror that the characters are going through, dealing with mystery, loss, and moving on.