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Let the Smooth Sounds of the 'Cello' Haunt You (Review)

Hong Mi-Ju (Hyeon-a Seong) is a part time muc professor; her forte is the beloved cello. However, Mi-Ju's work life isn't going too well, and things at home have taken a haunting turn as well. Plagued by flashbacks of a horrific car accident, vions of a mysterious woman's face, and the dark tones of a long forgotten cello compotion, Mi-Ju quickly loses hold of reality. Her daughters - one autistic, one spunky and energetic - also detect mom coming unhinged. Jun-Ki (Ho-bin Jeong), her husband is no stranger to the alterations his family is experiencing either. Ultimately, the glue that holds this unit together is faltering, and it becomes apparent quite quickly that neither Jun-Ki nor Mi-Ju have an immediate plan to resolve these issues (though Mi-Ju is clearly keeping a few skeletons in the closet).

Despite an abnormal abundance of plot twists (when compared to your 'average' ghost story) and a few really cool visuals, the scares are pretty run-of-the-mill J-horror fare. Expect a ghost story built upon deep, personal lies and intimate deception, and expect plenty of the visual techniques we've all come to expect from a large portion of Aan horror cinema; eerie quiet kid with hair healthy enough to promote a new Pantene line, creepy chicks creeping from walls, the lent woman who never seems to quite fit in etc, etc. That being said, there are a few genuinely chilling shots, a specific scene or two that are deeply disturbing, a score that is (rightfully) chilling, and a finale that will either leave you extremely pleased, or quite pissed off (I personally enjoyed it).

Writer/director Lee Woo-cheol leads a talented cast through a semi repetitive process, but attention to detail, impresve (though controlled) cinematography, and quality character development save CELLO from the land of redundancy I feared it destined for. A lot of thought was invested in this script and it does show. Though it's not a remarkably original picture, it's superior to plenty of films of milar nature to emerge from Aa in recent memory. R-POINT it is not, enjoyable it is: Koreans rejoice - you've given us another pretty damn good ghost story.


DVD supplements include director's commentary, a behind the scenes featurette with the cast and crew as well as a peek at CELLO's theatrical trailer.

Grade: C+
Matt_Molgaard Saturday 10/15/2011 at 03:51 PM | 85140