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The Ghost (2004)

DVD Cover (Tartan Video)
Director:
Tae-kyeong Kim Tae-kyeong Kim
Starring:
Ha-Neul Kang Ha-Neul Kang
Sang-mi Nam Sang-mi Nam
Hye-bin Jeon Hye-bin Jeon
Yi Shin Yi Shin
Hie-ju Jeon Hie-ju Jeon

6.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Psychological Thriller, Supernatural Horror
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Review by Chad
Added: May 13, 2007
After sitting through the entire Zombie Bloodbath series, I wanted something new - something fresh - something unique. I was sick of sitting through horror films featuring the exact same antagonists using the exact same kill methods served up alongside the exact same scare scenes, and with that in mind, I figured that I could turn to our friends from the Far East for something... unique... with long-haired ghosts... oh, son of a bitch.

If you've seen one of these movies, you've seen them all and you'll probably have a good idea as to how the entire thing plays out: the only difference between this one and the thousands of identical films is the "hook", and even that isn't terribly original. The hook for this one just so happens to be that Min Ji-won (Ha-Neul Kim) is suffering from amnesia and can't remember any of her past. To make matters worse, her friends and family refuse to discuss large portions of her life with her, leading her to believe that she has some sort of terrible secret hidden away in the back of her mind. When her former friends (the people she knew before she lost her memory) start dying off one by one, she starts to get a little scared... but when she starts seeing an all too familiar ghost, she knows that she has to remember what happened to set all of this into motion.

If I were to ignore every other Asian ghost story ever told on the big screen, I would have nothing but praise for The Ghost: it's a very stylish film with some damned creepy scenes and it tells an interesting story along the way. There are some good scares to be found and the ghost itself is a visual treat, but after all this praise, there's just one minor problem: it's all been done before, and repeatedly.

This movie is a by-the-book Asian horror film, and if you've seen any of the more mainstream titles (Ringu, Ju-On, Dark Water, etc.), you'll know how just about every scene is going to play out. It begins with the teenage girls playing in the bedroom which leads to the initial false scare ("Oh, it was just my sister!"), a scene which then immediately leads into the first legit scare. After this, we're treated to the opening credits set to spooky music, and we then follow along with the story that makes no sense until all is revealed in the final five minutes. The storyline is peppered with random appearances from a long-haired ghost and flashbacks that will finally make sense when all is revealed. Then there's the final twist, followed by the montage that shows all of the clues that were presented throughout the film and the happy ending, and the film is finally wrapped up with the final scare which will more than likely lead to a sequel or an American remake. Does it get any more cliché than this, I ask?

The choice, as they say, is yours. It's a good movie if you haven't already seen a handful of similar films, but everyone else will see all of the surprises, scares, and twists coming a mile away. As a standalone film, I'd go with a 8/10. Compared to the films that this one liberally borrowed from, I'd go with a 4/10. Average those two scores together, and I suppose this one warrants about a 6/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 05/13/2007, 03:10 PM
I hate Japanese horror. Always have. Probably always will. "Audition" is really the only Japanese horror film to do anything for me. The fact that the poster for this film says it's "The Grudge" meets "Dark Water" is not re-assuring. I hated both Japanese versions of those films. I enjoyed the American remake of "The Grudge", but hated the American remake of "Dark Water". I just don't like Japanese horror, but gave this one a shot nevertheless. It's bad. It's not just bad, it's one of the worst I've seen and it might be the last Japanese horror film I ever see. It's that bad. Fuck this movie. 0/10.
Chad #2: Chad - added 05/13/2007, 04:50 PM
There's a lot of really good Asian horror if you stay away from the ghost stories such as this one. I enjoy these movies to a certain extent, but I'll agree in a heartbeat that they're monotonous; however, there's a lot of good Japanese horror that doesn't rely on the same tired plots.
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