Inbetween

I have a love-hate relationship with Asian (Korean and Japanese) horror films. I love them because they scare me so much, and I hate them for the same reason as well. At the beginning of the course, I told myself I expect to stop diminishing the value of a horror film to its imagery alone. Although I have worked on that quite a bit, I still think that horrifying images make my horror experience complete. With this in mind, I was 99% sure that Voice will have some mind-boggling character that will haunt me for at least a week. But it turned out to be more of a haunting voice than a haunting image. Of course, the Asian look always has that creepy vibe even if it’s just a normal character, but I didn’t get the Ju-on type of imagery. The setting was classic Asian film, as it was shot in a high school campus with the elevator and dark corridors.

Although I was disappointed in that sense, I thought it was not that bad. After putting myself in Cho-ah’s shoes, I’d think it would be scarier to hear something and not know where it’s coming from than to see a horrifying face and body. What I typically like about the movie is that the ghost with the unfinished business is not the bad one at the beginning. In most horror movies, it’s always in the perspective of the human being that we see the presence of the ghost. The only movie I can think of right now that explores this perspective is Just Like Heaven, which is not at all a horror movie. It actually surprised me when the original voice they hear is not merely attracting a victim, but actually has a connection with Young-eon. Although it was a bit slow, the inception of voices was a new concept for me. I also liked the part where they say that the soul can only remember what it wants to remember. There’s a concept in Aquinas’ moral theory called consequent ignorance, where one tends to not know something just because they do not want to know. This “refrains” them from being responsible for the actions that they did that may have harmed the people around them. In the movie, Young-eon did a lot of things that have hurt the people around her. She seemed like an innocent soul at the beginning, but the story unravels a different side of her. When she realizes everything that she has done, she turns into someone she had locked in her subconscious.

The film was very emotional as it tackles relationships, just like most Asian horror films do. The story was a bit of confusing at the beginning, thus lessening the predictability which is actually pretty good. What I particulary liked about the movie is that it bravely added concepts that are not conventionally used, like the lesbian-student affair and cancer patient suicide, to give the film more impact. I would still consider Voice to be a horror film because it revolved around the experience of in-between life and death and how terrifying it is to be stuck in something you can’t completely accept (Young-eon) and to help someone out of distress without even knowing what really is true (Cho-ah.)

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