Monday, January 28, 2013

Movie Review: Cello

Starring: Seong Hyeon-ah, Park Da-an, Jeong Ho-bin
Directed by: Lee Woo-cheol
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 92 minutes
Synopsis: After surviving a terrifying car wreck that killed her best friend, Mi-ju, a brilliant cellist longs for a peaceful and stable life as a music teacher at a local college. When horrifying memories of the accident begin to surface, her tranquil life quickly becomes a nightmare. A supernatural evil seeks revenge against her and her family. Until she knows the reason why, no one is safe.

Hong Mi-Ju lives a relatively normal life teaching part-time at a musical academy. She seems to be fairly normal with friends among her co-workers. The only downfall is that she has a former student who's very upset that Mi-Ju gave her a failing grade. The young woman promises to get revenge on the professor as she's been prevented from getting into the university that she wanted. Despite this, Mi-Ju goes home to a loving husband, their two daughters and her sister-in-law. Home life seems to be quite normal with the exception of a creepy housekeeper being taken on. Everything seems too normal for a horror movie. Then strange things begin to happen...

While Cello isn't what I'd classify as traditional horror (even of the Asian variety), it does hold some of the values that those films portray. Those are in a quite limited respect though. It would have been better to classify this movie as a psychological drama instead. Even that label can only take it so far. The film is extremely boring. I found myself yawning through most of it. I will, however, say that the cello music and the youngest daughter were the best parts. The little girl (Jin Ji-Hee) was adorable and quite precocious.

With that said, I suppose that I should explain what I didn't like. The pacing of the film was extremely slow. For the first fifteen minutes, there was only a quick (almost easily missed) sighting of the ghost. Once that happens, there's no other sightings of the ghost until the film is almost over. One would think that in a ninety minute horror film, you'd at least see the ghost quite a few times by the hour mark. Instead, we're left with Mi-Ju being paranoid, a creepy housekeeper and the creepy elder daughter. It's not really explained very well that the elder daughter was born with a developmental disorder that Mi-Ju blames herself for.

The film didn't manage to hold my attention by the time that the last twenty minutes roll around. This is where the action starts to pick up. We've finally reached Mi-Ju's breaking point and the full unveiling of the ghost. The true backstory is revealed as well as a twist that wasn't quite expected. Even so, I wasn't interested enough to care. Mi-Ju was seemingly the perfect teacher, wife and mother....yet she was also perfectly boring. Her husband was also quite boring. The creepy housekeeper and elder daughter were both mute unless you count the daughter screaming as speech. We're not given adequate time to care about the sister-in-law's fate even though she lives in the home.

Rating: 2/5

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