The Asian Twin Peaks

I had some trepidation when I found out we were watching an Asian horror film in class. I have never really been a fan of Asian horror stories, because–and I’m kind of at fault here as well–I sort of stereotyped them as having a pale ghost girl haunting some object or place and killing Asian characters who all have the same hair and always speak in tongues. Of course, I trusted that Sir wouldn’t really make us watch a bad horror film (that and the fact that I had no choice since this was a class), and so I let go of my judgments for a while and took the movie in. 

I actually liked Voice. It wasn’t that scary for me, but it had its creepy moments. The fact that it wasn’t very in-your-face when it comes to storytelling really won me over. It also deals with the themes of friendship, secrets, and even a lesbian undertone. I was reminded of both Twin Peaks and (here I go again) the Buffy episode entitled Hush while watching the movie. It was like Twin Peaks in a way that the seemingly-normal characters actually have another dark side which unfurls as the events of the film take place. Some people are not who they seem. You think you know everything about a person, but it only takes one event to make you think twice. I like how the main character, Sun-min, learns about the secret past of her best friend, Young-eon. It’s realistic for me, because in a way, this sort of thing really happens in real life. No, of course I’m not talking about ghosts (but who knows). I’m talking about how two people who have known each other for a very long time still tend to hide certain things from each other, only to be found out after the friendship has ended, or if a similar event takes place. That, I think, is one of the main reasons why the film succeeds in bringing horror to the table.

I said it reminded me of the Buffy episode Hush, because they both focus on the twofold theme of losing one’s voice. I think one of humankind’s greatest fears is losing one’s senses, especially one’s voice. You can’t be understood anymore. Seemingly, if you lose your voice, you lose yourself as well, and people will forget about you. Young-eon doesn’t want that to happen with Sun-min, so she does everything that she can to continue having her best friend by her side. That’s what’s very dark about the movie. While Young-eon wants to keep their friendship alive, Sun-min also finds out about what really happened, that it all goes back to Young-eon’s sociopathic ways, and ultimately, accepting the fact that Young-eon should cross over. On the other hand, as it happened in the film, even though you might have your own voice, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are telling the truth all the time. I guess the film wanted to emphasise on the importance of our voice. It makes us who we are.

One thing that I don’t get about the movie, though, is the lesbian undertone. I don’t get the point of having it, really. Is it a flip-off to South Korea’s friends up north? It has been a running theme in the Whispering Corridors series, one of which is Voice. Either way, it works because it sets the whole movie up. Then again, maybe that was the point of the whole thing: a plot device.

Overall, I like Voice a lot because it tackles themes that are not really focused on in your typical run-of-the-mill horror movies.  I’m thinking of downloading the entire Whispering Corridors series to see if I’d like it more.

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