‘Cello’ is Subtle but Powerful (review)

Korean movie. Mi-ju is a music professor recovering from a car accident in which her friend Tae-yeon was killed. She has no memory of the accident, only a giant scar on her arm. Her life takes a turn for the worse after listening to a cassette tape of her and Tae-yeon playing music. Her family life is disintegrating as her sister-in-law Kyung-ran kills herself, and her daughter Yoon-jin mysteriously takes up the cello and begins acting odd (for example, biting her sister for trying to touch the cello). Meanwhile she is being threatened by a disgruntled former student. When a dead bird shows up in her mailbox and she receives text messages that say, “Are you happy? You should be…” she’s left to wonder if it’s the student, her creepy new housekeeper, or Tae-yeon for some reason coming back to get her.

cello2
Cello! And goodbye!

First, a warning about the subtitles. Unless you can speak Korean (if you do, congrats), you will need the subtitles. Unfortunately, in the case of this movie, there are numerous mistakes, the most I’ve ever seen in a foreign movie, most notably Min-ju’s last name alternating from Hong to Song, and characters uttering phrases like “Don’t start?”

There are occasional creepy moments (though none of these come from Tae-yeon, who looks a bit too much like Morticia from The Addams Family).

cello1
“그녀는 오싹하고 이상하다 신비 롭고 무서운”

The opening sequence shows Mi-ju being revived after the accident; she’s broken and bloody, but the scene is overlaid with peaceful cello music. Then there’s Kyung-ran’s death scene: Yoon-jin gets out of bed and opens her drapes to see Kyung-ran hanged outside her window. The text messages are also eerie in their vague but somehow threatening way.

Overall, it’s good watchin’. The acting is decent from even the young actors, it’s not extremely predictable, and it’s fairly disturbing. Until the last 20 minutes or so, it’s slow, but not boring.

Published by GhoulieJoe

I wuvs the horror movies and like to write snarky reviews about them. I also included some pretentious as hell microfiction (don't worry, it's at the bottom).

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