The Ghost (aka Ryeong) DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Tartan Video
The ghost is here. – Young girl.
Written and directed by Tae-kyung Kim
2004, Region 1, 94 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on April 24th, 2007
Ha-neul Kim as Ji-won Min
Jin Ryu as Ju-ho Park
Sang-mi Nam as Su-in
Ji-won has a bright future in front of her. She's about to graduate from college and skip town to greener pastures.
It's her past that's the problem. She can't remember any of it. Poor Ji-won suffers from amnesia.
So when one of her friends from before she had amnesia contacts her, Ji-won's intrigued. Until her friend explains that one of the girls who used to be in their tight-knit group when they were in high school has died mysteriously. After seeing something strange.
If she wasn't digging up her past before, Ji-won dives head first into finding out who she was, and why her old friends are dying.
But the more she finds out, the more she learns she wasn't a very nice person. And there's a reason why her friends are being murdered. Just wait until Ji-won finds out she is the reason.
When I was a lad, I used to love doing those paint-by-number sets. I was pretty good at painting between the lines, but I lacked the talent my sister had of drawing something from scratch.
Writer/director Tae-kyung Kim must have been a big fan of those sets, too. Because The Ghost is sure as hell a by-the-numbers movie. It's painted really pretty, as there are some great shots, and there are certainly some great scares. But the story is the same you've seen from many popular Asian horror films. Hell, one of the last scenes is dangerously close to ripping off Ringu.
Yet, that's not to say it's bad. Because it really isn't. It just isn't original. Watching it, I was reminded of when Scream first came out, and the leagues of copycats after it. Not all of them were bad, by any means. And there were some that were quite enjoyable. Ghost falls somewhere in between. Kind of like Scream 3. Same old story, but definitely watchable.
But one thing Ghost does, like many Asian horror films, is create fantastic atmosphere. There are some fantastic scenes — scenes that sometimes nothing happens in — that really do a great job bringing the dread. In particular, the pool scenes. Water plays a pretty important part in the film, and Ji-won likes taking frequent dips in what seems to be the world's deepest swimming pool. Having an unnatural fear of water myself (thanks, Jaws!), it's the pool scenes that got to me the most.
Ha-nuel Kim is extremely good as the young Ji-won. At first I thought she was too emotionless, but as the film went on, I realized she was playing it perfectly. She is a very lonely girl, who knows nothing about her past, has a questionable future and has just had death dropped on her lap. What really solidified her performance was a scene where she just breaks down. Up to that point, she seemed to be under control, if not a little too indifferent. But when things finally get to her, I sat up and watched because not only was it out of her character, it was a very convincing performance.
Sadly, though, the ambiance and Kim's performance just aren't enough to make Ghost any more than a middle-of-the-road horror film, but it does have enough moments to make it easily worth a Saturday night rental.
Video and Audio:
The Ghost's overall presentation is fantastic. Its anamorphic presentation is crisp and clean throughout, with deep, solid blacks and completely natural colors.
Ghost's video is well complemented by its audio. The Korean DTS is full and spacious. No audio quirks were heard, and there is a great use of sides and rears.
Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 and English and Spanish subtitles are also offered.
- Cast Interviews
- Behind the Scenes
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Tartan Asia Extreme New Releases
The "Cast Interviews" and "Behind the Scenes" featurettes have a combined running time of about eight minutes, and are really nothing more than promotional pieces for the film. The aren't in-depth at all — two minutes for a behind-the-scenes featurette isn't enough to scratch the surface — and the interview "questions" are nothing more than brief descriptions of what the movie is about and what character the interviewee played.