27 January 2016

CELLO. 2005. A KOREAN HORROR FILM. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.


CELLO. 2005. A TARTAN ASIA EXTREME FILM. DIRECTED BY LEE WOOK-CHUL. STARRING SUNG HYUN-AH AND PARK DA-AN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is one of the best Korean horror films I've ever seen. It's the story of Mi-ju, a cello instructor who lives in a fabulous big house with her husband, her two daughters, her sister-in-law, their dog and their housekeeper. That's quite a houseful, right? On the surface, Mi-ju would appear to have it all, but then one day everything starts to fall apart...

The outwardly perfect household is not without its problems. Mi-ju and her rich prosecutor hubby don't communicate with each other very well. Their youngest daughter is a chubby little delight, but their eldest girl doesn't speak at all and appears to be autistic, though we don't find out exactly what her condition is.

Mi-ju seems to blame herself for the way her eldest daughter is. Seemingly she took a lot of medication while she was pregnant. Now she concentrates all her efforts into trying to make some headway with the child, to which end she's teaching her the cello. The rest of the family is left to fend for itself while Mi-ju spends her time on her first-born.

The housekeeper doesn't speak either, by the way. Not a dickybird. She creeps silently around the house, scaring the bejeesus out of Mi-ju who's freaked out by her. I won't tell you what her deal is, but I certainly wouldn't employ her as my housekeeper, that's for sure.

The day she arrives, the beloved family dog starts to bark his ass off and act like he's been spooked, somehow. Dogs are sensitive creatures. They always know what's what. What's good enough for Rover is good enough for me. She's bad news. She's got to be. The bow-wow knows.

Mi-ju has something of a murky past, too, which is threatening to resurface. That's never a good thing. She was once in a car accident which killed her best friend, a beautiful young woman who was her rival at playing the cello. Hmmm. Sounds suspicious? I'll say.

When a series of horrific events begin to overtake Mi-ju and her little family, the terrified wife and mother has no choice but to confront the unpalatable fact that someone- or something- is out to revenge itself against her. Can she fight an evil she can't see or touch? If she wants her family to survive, she'll just have to find a way. Does that sound ominous? Believe me, it was meant to...

The- ahem- series of unfortunate events I mentioned will have you glued to your seats. Not a single member of the family escapes unscathed, although I'll never divulge the details. Not even if you pin me down and tickle me. Don't do that, though. I hate being tickled. It's my one weakness. I'll be singing like a flippin' canary before you get to my armpits.

The scenes on the balcony, the ones down in the dark, dank basement and then up in the oldest child's bedroom at the end are deeply shocking and distressing. The twist at the end is confusing at first, but when you work it out it'll impress you. Or bug the s***e out of you, haha. I'm still not sure which one I am.

The general plot, too, is a bit confusing at times and there are one or two red herrings which you'll have to keep an eye out for, but Asian horror films can often be a tad bewildering and it usually doesn't detract from the overall brilliance of the movie as a whole.

I'm serious when I say that I didn't want this film to end. It's a bit of a rollercoaster from the time you strap yourself in to the moment you stagger off home, green around the gills and puking your guts up. I was totally caught up in it. It's a film where nothing is quite as it seems, something that Korean and Japanese film-makers seem to excel in. That's what I love about 'em. Good job they make so many. I should be set for a good while yet with quality horror to binge-watch.

The kiddies in this do a great job, especially the youngest daughter, a sweet little cutie-pie if ever there was one. And don't be put off by the name of the film, either. CELLO...? If you're not a fan of posh, fancy-pants cello music, there's hardly any in it so don't worry about it. This film is a good spooky shocker in a domestic setting. You won't be forced to ingest any unwanted culture, haha, I promise you. Only good horror...

       AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline.

In her capacity as a performance poet, she has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers' Centre, The International Bar, Toners' Pub (Ireland's Most Literary Pub), the Ha'penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.

Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland's Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home. In 2003, she was invited to be a guest on Niall Boylan's 98FM late-night radio talk show purely on the basis of having a 'sexy voice.'

She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director's Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com




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