Review Rating: 7
Korean pop band Pink Dolls just can’t catch a break, until they discover the mysterious song “White” in their new studio and re-cover it, unknowingly taking the curse that comes with it.
This is actually a very good movie about two things in particular that are very hard to portray in American cinema, much less a good Korean horror flick – the stress that comes from being a singing performer, and the issues of trying to make a good ghost story. Most Asian horror films have to do with ghosts or vengeful spirits that can’t be reasoned with or stopped in any way, and White is no exception, though the extremely smart storytelling tells a whole slew of ghost stories inside the overarcing storyline. It was a little odd for the film to not subtitle most of the songs the girls sang or covered when in concert, but yet have the parts of the songs being clues to the ghosts vengeances and translated later when the sound-engineer is extremely frightened. There is some blood and gore, sure, and of course the iconic original Grudge-like spirit does the contortionist nightmare as she comes for you, but she does it with shockingly white hair and yes that does rather change the look of it.
So the Pink Dolls all want very badly to become huge stars, enough to take an abusive manager, what looks to be potentially a haunted new studio, and even the terrible meanness of eachother to get there. They all want to be the “main”, that is main singer, especially when Eun-Joo discovers the tape with “White” and suddenly everyone wants them to sing that. But then it all starts going horribly wrong, and one by one the Pink Dolls begin suffering terrible attacks, all except for Eun-Joo. Soon she and her friend Soon-Ye, who helped with a sound technique known as “doubling” on the remake of the song, are investigating just what did happen with the original writers of “White” and everyone who’s tried to sing the song since! The rest of the Pink Dolls have survived the original attacks and while Eun-Joo is going solo with “White”, the three of them make a grotesquely splashy protest on live television by swallowing bleach. After much checking and re-checking and scaring the living daylights out of the sound engineer helping her, Soon-Ye discovers the true story behind the real ghost of “White”, and hurries to Eun-Joo’s first live solo performance, striving to win a big big contest against her old rivals the band Pure. What follows is a performance unlike any other, somewhat akin to poor Carrie and her bloody Prom Night, except in this case it’s the vengeful spirit of “White”, finally come to take back her song from anyone who dared sing it. And after all that, you’d think the curse was finally over – Soon-Ye learns different when she’s reminiscing at the karaoke bar and a request for the “White” song comes on without her choice.
Only a few hurdles here and there, easily jumped, and the movie is quite enjoyable. It helps to appreciate real Asian Horror, like The Grudge and Audition, but it’s not necessarily a requirement to enjoy this film. Leave it to Korean cinema to, once again, come out with some very smart Horror that really should be advertised more!