20 February 2016

A BLOOD PLEDGE. 2009. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.


A BLOOD PLEDGE. 2009. WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY JONG-YONG LEE. STARRING SON EUN-SEO AND JANG KYEONG-AH. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is an excellent Korean horror film. It has a totally stand-alone plot, but it does form the fifth instalment in what's known as the WHISPERING CORRIDORS series of films. These five South Korean horror movies are all set in girls' schools and share similar plotlines as well as settings, but they can be watched as stand-alone movies too.

The other four films in the WHISPERING CORRIDORS series, just for those who'd like to know, are as follows: WHISPERING CORRIDORS (1998); MEMENTO MORI (1999); WISHING STAIRS (2003); and VOICE (2005).

Apparently, the producers of the films thought that the setting of an all-girls' school would work because men would be 'fascinated' by this exclusively female location that they don't normally have access to and the mystique of it all would draw them in.

And chicks, supposedly, would be reminded of their alma maters and feel deliciously nostalgic towards the settings. It makes sense, I suppose. I feel nostalgic towards my own school at times, but the girls in these films seem terrifyingly modern compared to when I was in school, with their abortions and their cellphones and their Internet and what have you.

It was also thought by the producers that, as similar locations had worked so well in certain Japanese horror films, the same might work for Korean horror films. I think they chose their setting wisely. The school in A BLOOD PLEDGE is literally a fabulous warren of whispering corridors. See what I did there...?

We've got deserted classrooms, long darkened hallways, creepy old chapels and a school roof to which the teachers really should have blocked off access a long time ago. And why's that...? Well, because there appears to be a spate of teen suicides off of said roof, that's why. Schoolgirls who seem serenely untroubled by the presence of any teachers at all are queuing up to jump off the school roof.

Why...? Well, no-one knows. When it happens the first time, speculation is rife. Was Eon-Joo pregnant? Was she depressed? Was she upset about the breakdown of her friendship with her best mate So-Hee? And why is So-Hee more distraught about Eon-Joo's suicide than the other two girls in their little group? I mean, they were involved too, weren't they, surely...?

When the ghost of Eon-Joo starts showing up around the school with a battered and bloody face, shit really starts to get serious. Is Eon-Joo out for revenge, and if so, why and against whom? You'll have great fun finding out the answers as the traumatic story of the four schoolgirls gradually reveals itself through the medium of flashback.

The Catholic Girls' School has become some kind of Suicide City as the teenagers' hormones run amok and the girls become mired in the kind of peer pressure-power struggles, relationship niggles and academic pressures that tend to beset teenaged females. I wouldn't go through those years again myself for all the tea in China, and I love tea. I'm drinking a huge mug of the stuff right now. And the kettle's on for another brew. I always like to have a cup on the go. You'll see if you ever drop in.

The film is tremendously atmospheric with a really sad ending. The school is beautiful to look at, both inside and out, and the lack of supervision by teachers of any kind would appear to be total, haha. Wish my school had been like that. Except for the suicides, of course. And the hauntings. They wouldn't have been nice, not to mention a serious distraction.

I must tell you about the thing that made the biggest impression on me about the film. The relationship between Ki-Ho, that great impregnator of women, and his adoring Mumsie made me feel sick. He knocks 'em up, Mumsie sorts out the girls with abortions so that her precious son can carry on living his life and going to school as if nothing's happened.

It genuinely made me feel ill, that he wasn't made to take any responsibility whatsoever for his
own actions. Sorry to sound preachy here, but an unplanned pregnancy can make a teenage girl so sick with worry that she actually contemplates suicide. It's not something to be taken lightly, therefore, by either the girl or the boy.

Ki-Ho seriously needs to get some sort of come-uppance. Maybe even a ghostly come-uppance, heh-heh-heh. Ooops, sorry. I didn't mean to sound so mysterious there. Maybe he'll just get a regular come-uppance. It doesn't have to be ghostly. Or does it? Ooops, I've done it again. Maybe we'll just stop here. It's a terrific Korean horror film. Watch it. Watch all the ghostly come-uppances. And smile smugly to yourself...

      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. You can contact her at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com




 

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