“D-Day” is another of the four Korean horror film projects of which “Hidden Floor” was a part, this one was available out of HK instead of Taiwan, and since I liked the first one, Neko picked it up hoping for a nice little thriller for an evenings experience. I mean, schoolgirls, ghosts, creepy teachers, and all that…. how can I go wrong?
The synopsis reads: “Roommates Yoo-jin, Eun-soo, Bo-ram, and Da-young are cramming for a college entrance exam. It`s difficult for them to adapt to the stifling atmosphere of the women`s lodging institute and to get along with each other due to their differing personalities. Yoo-jin has the most difficulty with the stuffy institute life- she begins to have visions of events that took place at the institute in the past like a tragic fire that occurred several years ago. Yoo-jin gradually becomes consumed with fear, and the relationship among the four intimate friends begins to suffer.”
Is it as well made as “Hidden Floor”? Well I guess you’ just have to read some more and find out…..
I guess this film helps cement the idea in my lil’ noggin that I’m ever so glad I didn’t go to school in Korea… Seems every Korean movie I’ve ever seen whether it was a comedy, horror, or whatever shows that school time there is a brutal grinding experience filled with cruel, abusive teachers and a sense of ridiculous rivalry between classmates designed to crush individuality and any sense of self worth like a bug. “D-Day” does nothing to dispel this image, and everything to make you dread the very idea of school as a character building exercise.
If you’ve watched many of these films, you already know about the country wide exams that high school students all have to take to get into a college, and just how cutthroat the competition is for the highest grades that will let you get a shot a a college worth attending. Well, this movie is concerned with one of those “factory academies” designed for one purpose and one purpose only. To drill enough information into a kid’s head by any means possible to make them pass that exam…. Even if it kills them.
This particular one is an all-girl’s academy (boys are nothing more than a distraction after all…) and although their TV commercials try to paint a warm and caring picture of concerned educators wanting to nurture and help students, the place is really little more than a prison with teachers who wouldn’t be out of place at a gulag… and one with a terrible secret in it’s recent past. Not the sort of place anybody should send their kids away to.
The story revolves around four girls in particular, Yoo-jin, Eun-soo, Bo-ram, and Da-young, who share a room together and what happens to them under the grueling pressure brought against them by both the oppressive school and the atmosphere of supernatural weirdness that clings to it like mold. Cramming for the college entrance exams, it’s difficult for them to adapt to the stifling atmosphere of the place while trying to get along with each other due to their differing personalities. Yoo-jin has the most difficulty with the stuffy institute life; and begins to have visions of events that took place at the institute 3 years ago concerning a tragic fire that destroyed the school and killed all of the students. Yoo-jin gradually becomes overwhelmed by her fears, and the relationship among the four intimate friends begins to suffer leading to it’s eventual disintegration.
The story is told in a “countdown” mode, with frequent updates as to how long is left until the exam, the “D-Day” of the title. It’s clearly a psychological piece, with the supernatural stuff mostly presented in a way that make you wonder if it’s real, or just in the poor stressed girl’s minds. The brutality of the staff is so over-the-top with it’s forced drugging, instances of solitary confinement, beatings, and even covering up both suicide and murder that you wonder how they ever thought this place would remain a secret as to it’s methods. After all… the girls would be free after the tests to spill the beans but good.
They don’t even see the meltdown of the school’s top student, Eun-soo, coming. She goes from 1st in the class to 37th place with behavior that ends up leaving her looking like a crazy homeless person and yet still nothing is done until she snaps and goes on the film’s climactic homicidal rampage. Even if they didn’t care about her personally, you’d have thought they would have seen trouble coming and just plain expelled her.
I guess it’s necessary to “suspend your disbelief” with regards to these elements and just “go with the flow” so to speak… outside of these nagging plot flaws, this one does deliver the goods. It’s not gratuitously gory, but at the same time it does strike quite a few sensitive nerves as you wince at the treatment afforded to those poor girls.
The disc itself is well produced, if spartan, however it’s worth mentioning that it’s the first DVD ever to fail to play in my venerable Korean Malata Region Free player…giving me a “Major Disc Error – Replace Disc” warning. It played fine in my backup player, a Chinese Giec Region Free player. But then my Malata just might be showing it’s age….. newer codecs and the like. Just thought I’d give the heads up…..
The film itself…..? Well, this one was certainly creepy and well made, but the plot holes make me reduce this to only 3 “Meows” out of 5, but I’ll throw in a couple of purrs of satisfaction for the psychological horror elements that made this one ultimately work.
Of course, I tracked you down a Trailer… so take a peek!