Whispering Corridors (DVD)

Whispering Corridors (DVD)
They should have named it talking corridors…
Updated: 02-13-2005

Adhering to the Asian tradition of supernatural horror Whispering Corridors, a Korean hit that spawned two sequels, is about a vengeful ghost. It takes place in an all-girl school populated with petulant young students and sadistic, ruler-wielding teachers. The movie starts right off with a mysterious death, showing the swinging corpse of a homeroom teacher hanging from a high bridge. It’s assumed that she committed suicide, but of course we know better.


The next day, three students make the chilling discovery of the bloated body at the end of a noose. Here we meet the shy and retiring Youn Jae-yi (Choi Se-yeon), the artistic and highly psychic Lim Ji-oh (Kim Gyu-ri), and unpopular Kim Jung-sook (Jun Ji-hye). Add to the mix a new teacher who was once a student at the school, and who brings with her a dark secret, and you have all the elements of a supernatural mystery.


The tale unfolds slowly, revealing the story of a long-ago ostracized student who wanted only to make beautiful art but wound up dead instead. And when I say the story unfolds slowly, I am not kidding. There is an awful lot of talking going on and hardly any action after the initial, attention-grabbing death of the teacher.


While I will admit that I was pleased to be surprised by the twist at the end, by the time I got there I didn’t much care anymore. And then when the twist comes, there is more endless discourse about that — the movie should definitely have been called Talking Corridors.


The movie is directed with a willowy light touch, the cinematography is stylish, and the acting is fine (if a bit stilted), but the music borders on being painful — violins screech, bells ring, and random notes grate. There’s also an awful lot of keening, wailing, and sobbing.


I have mixed feelings about Whispering Corridors. It is so slow that it’s tedious, but if you’re willing to hang in there long enough you will be rewarded with a satisfying conclusion (although that bit tends to drag on with too much talk and tears). It’s an all right movie on its own terms, but probably only worth a look for diehard fans of Asian horror or/and ghost stories.



Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson for Horror.com

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