Whispering Corridors review by Mike Long

As someone who has now seen his fair share of Asian horror films, I feel that I've grown accustomed to the pacing of these movies. Many of them are paced much slower than the Hollywood films that we are used to, and this slower pace can often work to the film's advantage, drawing out the suspense and making the scary scenes much more jarring. However, some movies, like the Korean entry Whispering Corridors allow the leisurely flow of the film to become a crawl and lead the viewer to wonder, "Is there going to be a ghost in your ghost movie?"

Whispering Corridors takes place in an all-girls school in Korea. As the film opens, we see a teacher, who is making a frantic phone call and babbling about a ghost, brutally murdered. As the story unfolds, we meet the principal characters, who are students in the murdered teacher's class. Ji-oh (Gyu-ri Kim) is a cool girl who befriends shy Jae-yi (Se-yeon Choi). So-young (Jin-hie Park) is the best student in the school, having surpassed Jung-sook (Ji-hye Yun), who now acts very odd. Also joining this mix is Eun-young (Mi-yeon Lee) is a graduate of the school who has returned there to teach. The girls go through their daily lives, dealing with school and evil teachers, while Eun-young begins to realize that something strange is going on in the school. Based on the evidence that she finds, Eun-young suspects that an old classmate of hers, Jin-ju, is haunting the school.

Whispering Corridors is such a disappointing film. The opening murder is very well done and gory, giving the viewer hopes that this will be a no-holds barred horror-fest. But, that isn't the case, as there aren't any more supernatural events until far into the film. Actually, Whispering Corridors is much more concerned with the politics of the Korean education system, and that's great...except that I don't care AT ALL about that. When I watch an Asian horror film, I want an Asian horror film, and Whispering Corridors simply doesn't cut it. (While watching the movie, I realized that I'd actually seen the sequel Memento Mori and had disliked it as well.)

The unfortunate thing here is that Whispering Corridors isn't necessarily a bad movie, it just isn't the movie that I wanted to see. Director Ki-Hyung Park makes great use of the school location and the building can seem ominous at times. The cast of young actresses are very good and the message that teachers in the school can be unfairly sadistic comes through loud and clear. But, the movie is incredibly uneven, as the great opening is followed by nearly an hour where nothing happens. Once the ghost reappears and more murders occur, the film suddenly becomes a mystery as Eun-young deduces that Jin-ju is actually possessing one of the current students. The ending is a true head-scratcher, as it reveals more a new-age spirit story than a scary movie finale. As someone who loves ghost stories from Asia, I went into Whispering Corridors with high hopes, but found myself bored and not scared...although I now know that I never want to attend a Korean school.

Whispering Corridors haunts DVD courtesy of Tartan Video USA. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image looks OK, but it does have some problems. The picture displays many defects from the source material, such as scratches and black or white specs. There is also some notable grain on the image. The picture is well-balanced for the most part, but it is somewhat dark at times. There is also a minor amount of artifacting. The DVD carries both a DTS 5.1 track and the Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Both provide clear dialogue and sound effects. This is a relatively quiet film, but there are some nice moments where the surround sound and subwoofer kick in. The English subs are large and very easy to read. The only extra on the DVD are a small photo gallery and trailers future Tartan releases.

3 out of 10 Jackasses

blog comments powered by Disqus