Yep, I know it’s been a while, but your Favorite Catgirl’s back at it again, this time with a look at the latest creepy Korean ghost story to find it’s way to my mailbox, 2012′s haunted video thriller “Don’t Click”. Filled with all the expected creepy ghost story elements, I just knew this one would be up my alley.
Our synopsis? How about this: “A young girl, Jung Mi (Kang Byul), eager to seize fame as the latest Internet video sensation discovers a notorious forbidden Internet video featuring a creepy ritual video starring a high school girl who has committed suicide. Soon after watching it, Se Hee begins to experience strange incidents that put her life in danger. Now, her older sister Se Hee (Park Bo Young) may be the only who can save her… if she can avoid becoming another victim of the curse herself!!”
With elements of “The Ring” and the plethora of other cursed video stories in Asian horror cinema, it certainly sounds like we’re not going to stray too far outside some very familiar territory, but then…. that’s never stopped this wee lady before, so why let it now?
Neko knows my regular visitors are certainly not going to let a little thing like that slow them down either, so without any further adieu lets all take a peek and see what it’s all about, shall we?
Now, since we’ve all been down this familiar “long haired ghost” road before, it’s certainly fair to say that if we were expecting something new or novel out of this particular film, well then we’re all probably going to be disappointed. “Don’t Click” just isn’t that sort of movie. Not at all.
So, does that mean we’re in for a fairly boring rehash of old plot elements from all those old movies making this one seem to be nothing more than just another “been there-seen that” exercise in horror film-making? Sadly…. for the most part… this wee Catgirl would have to honestly answer, “Yes”. Luckily for us…. at least in my experience, Korean films are usually well made, and even the most imitative of them rarely fail to be somewhat entertaining on some level. I’d have to say that that’s where this one falls… in that comfortable, if not inspired level of genre film.
We really don’t get too much to work with. There are really only three main characters in our tale, our main heroine Si Hee (played by Park Bo Young) who seems to be stuck in a life balanced between her rather boring job, trying to keep her techie boyfriend Joon-Hyuk (played by Joo Won) from possibly cheating on her, and worrying about her younger sister Jung Mi (played by Kang Byul), a high school girl obsessed with attaining that somewhat dubious goal of becoming an “Internet celebrity”. You know the idea…. post stupid, often risqué videos on social networking sites to gain the most “views” and thereby clinch the title of “most watched”. But everyone wants that fame…. so the videos have to become more daring… more controversial… and more intrusive into the lives of strangers on the street who’s lives become nothing more than fodder for the camera. If that sounds sort of stupid… especially given the fleeting attention span of the average Internet surfer, it is….. and that’s really the whole point of our story.
It’s this idea that raises the film up from being just another “cursed video ghost story” and gives it something to really think about. That and the way that social media’s obsession with voyeurism at any cost can be something that easily becomes more dangerous to the lives and happiness of people than any vengeful ghost could ever think of being…. and all without anyone even giving it a second thought.
With a goal like this, it isn’t long before selfish little Jung Mi gets herself waaaay over her head looking for the “next big thing” to emulate and basically blackmails her sister’s boyfriend into getting her a copy of a “forbidden” video from his job at the police cyber-crimes department. Gonna be a problem? Oh yeah…..
What she gets turns out to be the final video made by a suicidal schoolgirl seeking to cast a curse that would allow her to become a vengeful ghost and get revenge on those people that ruined her family with that same overly intrusive video filming hobby that was used to frame her innocent father as some sort of a creepy train station molester. Her father ruined… her mother pushed to suicide, and finally driven to the utter depths of despair by the futility of trying to fight back against the anonymity of the Internet she ends her life in a ritualistic suicide. The video of that death soon ensnares Jung Mi and eventually leads to her own suffering when the ghost, living within the internet itself and able to manipulate video cameras and web cams, takes a video of her innocently frolicking about her bedroom and posts it to the web under her name.
Soon she finds the harsh glare of “celebrity” to be a lot less glamorous than she imagined… and worse, the ghost has only begun to torture her by ruining her reputation. It’s ultimate goal is to brutally kill her and anyone else who’s seen the video clip in blind obsessive revenge.
Although at first skeptical of the supernatural goings-on, Si Hee eventually becomes convinced that her sister’s rapidly deteriorating mental state is the least of her worries, and so she and Joon-Hyuk try to end the curse before it’s too late for them all. Got a sense that it just plain won’t happen? Then you are a very, very perceptive person indeed…. or you’ve just plain seen a crap load of these movies… just like a certain Catgirl, Hehehehe!!
While not exactly the most original horror film out of Korea in a while, director Kim Tae Kyung at least seems to have it all well in hand. Having also directed “Ghost” and “Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait”, he’s definitely no newcomer to the genre. Still…. in all honesty I have to say this one still feels less like a real success and more like just like he’s doing a workmanlike job of earning a paycheck and I suppose that’s the biggest problem. I can’t really say I didn’t like “Don’t Click”…. but it also didn’t really scare me either. As a horror movie, that’s definitely not what you want as an experience. I suppose an audience less exposed to films of this genre might full well have a different feeling, but then they probably haven’t logged as many hours of ghost story watchin’ as this wee Catgirl.
So then…. even with it’s interesting comment on modern social media stardom and given the rather tepid scares and my pretty much overall “take it or leave it” feeling for it, I suppose it would be fair to give it 3 “Meows” out of 5. I can’t really say that it’s a film to miss… but you’d probably want to really be a fan of Asian Ghost films to want to plunk down the 29$US that a Korean DVD costs these days. A better option will definitely be to wait till the more budget friendly HK or Malay release comes along. (Hopefully they won’t also inexplicably translate the Korean slang for “boobs” into English as “boops” for the subtitles either…. something that had Carolyn snorting soda out of her nose on “Movie Night”. Not a pretty sight… and definitely the scariest thing to happen to me that evening. )
As always, there’s a super creepy Trailer at Youtube to get us all in the mood for the spooky goings-on. So enjoy!!