‘Phone’: Eerie and Well-Made (review)

Korean movie, AKA Pon. Ji Won is a reporter who has just uncovered a sex scandal. Among her many difficulties are threatening phone calls, both from a man involved in the scandal and a ghost, who tends to make a screechy noise that either kills people or seriously disturbs them. Ji Won’s niece Young Ju accidentally hears the phone ghost, and becomes possessed by it. Ji Won, eager to help, does some digging, and discovers Jin Hee, a teenage girl who previously had Ji Won’s phone number, and also mysteriously disappeared. Ji Won has to figure out what happened to her before she becomes the next victim.

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The victim of a ghost cuddle!

It’s well-written, pretty unpredictable, and even creepy at times. There are also plenty of gross-out moments—some quite brutal, like the opening, when a girl who also had Jin Hee’s number is killed in an elevator and breaks her fingernails off. I myself am freaked out by loose hair (a staple in many Asian horror movies), and when Ji Won finds a large bundle of wet hair, I actually gagged.

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Wet hair seems to be a consistent image system

There are a few funny moments despite the serious subject matter. I like the scene when Ji Won is getting settled in Chang Hoon’s house, where she’s hiding out from scandal guy; she sits down at the piano, cracks her knuckles, spreads her fingers, and plays “Chopsticks.” The expression on her face is blissful, as though she’s creating fine art. I’m also amused by the scene when (possessed) Young Ju and her mother Ho Jung are reading “Snow White.” Young Ju becomes angry at the concept of the rescue by the prince, calling it shit. All of the acting is decent, but my favorite performance is Seo-woo Eun as Young Ju; she’s not always 100% believable, but for a small child pretending to be possessed by a crazed teenage girl, she does a bang-up job.

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The face of evil was never so adorable

I’ll always remember this movie as the first foreign horror movie that my sister Leslie and I foisted on her bf Kevin; he had been previously put off by subtitles, but he came to really enjoy it. Captions take some getting used to, but they’re worth it. Seriously, don’t be such a Young Ju.

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“I hate reading when I’m watching a movie, waaaahhhh!”

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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