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Living in the USA, I am forced to choose from some pretty crappy and
unoriginal horror films. Not that this was the most original idea for a
horror film, but it somehow manages to make it feel fresh enough to like
I'm just glad I bought a multi-regional player, and a wife who was
about the title. I would have missed a good thing.
The plot is inspiring. It's not as scary as "The Eye" from the Pang brothers, but it's probably a more engaging and simpler story. The acting is so good, that I can feel the characters emotions, even though they're not speaking English. I especially loved the red-haired girl's acting in the cafeteria scene. I could feel her torment.
For some reason, I felt transported back to the original "Nightmare on Elm Street". It has that "classic" feel to it, even though it's a third film in a series. I'm glad they made it stand out on its own.
When does the next film from these people come out? 8/10
In a Korean boarding school, there is a legend about its twenty-eight
steps stairway: when the twentieth-ninth step appears, the fox will
grant a wish to the climber. The lesbian ballet student Kim So-hee
(Han-byeol Park) is in deep love with her passive girlfriend and also
ballet student Yoon Jin-sung (Ji-hyo Song). When there is a competition
for a single spot in a famous ballet school in Russia, the envious
Jin-sung finds the twentieth-ninth step and asks to beat the favorite
So-hee. However, there is a price to pay for the wish unknown to
Jin-sung and the consequence is the accidental death of So-hee.
Meanwhile, the fat student Eon Hae-ju (An jo), who is despised and
tormented by her classmate Han Yoon-ji (Ji-Yeon Park), misses So-hee.
When she also finds the mysterious step, she wishes the return of
So-hee with tragic consequences.
"Wishing Stairs" is a creepy low-paced ghost story, where the climax with scary sequences is only reached in the end. The story builds the mystery developing four characters and there is a subtle insinuation, at least in the Western mind, that So-hee is lesbian, Jin-sung is her passive love and the complex Hae-ju worships So-hee, forming a never clear triangle of love. In the end, I liked this refreshing horror movie, that slightly recalls the concepts of "Wishmaster" (make a wish but to the stairs), "Carrie" (with the bad treatment spent by the schoolmates) and "Pet Sematary" (with the return of So-hee from the world of the dead), but in a totally different environment and situation. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): Not Available
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Okay, so some of those horrors out there are really, really HORRible.
Sure, they scare you pantless but then take off in some unknown
direction to further frighten the viewer. Personally, from the Ring, I
still pray that Sadako won't find me under the covers at night, but the
story was nothing too spectacular.
In this movie, however, there are definitely a few good lessons and themes intertwined with the horror. Assuming you are familiar with the premise: a set of stairs with a mysterious, wish-granting 29th step, I'll continue. Surprisingly, most of the true horror is not caused by monsters or ghosts, but by the actual PEOPLE who are victimized. They, themselves inflict the pain upon themselves.
A girl wishes to be skinny, she becomes bulimic. A ballerina wishes to be better than her friend, she eliminates the competition. An artist wishes her art was more lifelike, she becomes her art. These are snips of irony that are just so mingled with the overall story that you can't just help but say to yourself, "that's what you get for wishing." I'm not native Korean, so it was difficult for me to appreciate this movie as a whole, but I would have to say the acting pretty okay. The effects were a little bit unoriginal, if not plagiarized, but the over all feeling they left was definite. This movie was fairly original, and I enjoyed it, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Eastern Horror of any type.
But remember, be careful what you wish for...
For many, watching certain types of Asian films delivers more of an emotional experience than say do American or European genre films. This is the same emotional territory that (Japanese) anime fans claim sacred. If you are one of those folks, then the schoolgirls of the Wishing Stairs will deliver a fascinating dramatic narrative with intriguing horror elements to keep you glued to the TV set. As in so many "haunted schoolgirl" films from Asia (especially South Korea and Japan) there often exists a romantic, dark innocence about the characters that Western films and their female characters simply lack. When Asian girls of this breed are thrown into a dramatic tragedy within a horror narrative you get wonderful films like The Wishing Stairs. Similarly, the ideas of Asian superstition add greatly to the interest factor of the characters - their motivations, reactions, expressions, etc. And like so many other Korean films, Memento Mori, Dead Friend, and Bunshinsaba, the subtext of "bullying" (a very real element in modern Asian society) adds yet a very earnest, heartfelt drama to the film. Having said that, for fans of Asian schoolgirls in horror peril, the Wishing Stairs indeed answers your prayers.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The popular franchise gets its third part in 2003. Wishing Stairs is
absolutely the best movie of the four. (Memento Mori is almost as good)
This movie also beats the other Korean horror movies, like the famous
movie Phone. Everything is good in Wishing Stairs.
There's everything you need for a horror movie: A black-haired ghost girl, awesome drama, creepy elements, a bloody murder and interesting characters. Here's the synopsis for starters: Along a wooden path to the school dormitory is a stairway with 28 steps. The stairway is called "Wishing Stairs" because it will grant wishes if someone climbs the secret 29th step that appears when someone goes all the way to the top. However, the students who climb the stairs are not aware that the wishes granted return as terrible curses. What you wish for could turn into your worst nightmare. Sounds great but how is this done in the movie?
The screenplay is elite. The drama part is complicated and dramatic as in the other movies of the same series. The art-based all-girl school is a perfect place for a horror movie. The sets and lighting create a creepy atmosphere so there's no complaints on those. The talented director makes the actresses to do their best and gets everything out of horror. The movie is a beautiful work of art.
The characters of this movie are amazingly well-done. They're deep and interesting. Especially I noticed a mentally unstable and overweight girl Hae-ju who gets bullied whole the time. It's no use to start listing her characteristics because there's so many of them. But it's very clear that she wants to be beautiful and popular but before all, she wants to be with So-hee. But So-hee has a crush on someone else named Jin-sung. She's a very ambitious ballet dancer who is jealous of So-hee's dancing skills. The movie is strongly centered on her and her very close relationship with So-hee. The bond between the girls is so strong that it doesn't fade even when So-hee commits suicide. (Because of the stairs of course)
Of all the four movies, Wishing Stairs is the scariest. There are a lot of clichés but fortunately they're managed to use them well. (It's hard to use clichés properly) The black-haired ghost plays its part well but we've all seen "the window scene" before (If you've seen this you know what I'm talking about) in many many many other movies. There's also a little bit of gore. To be exact, there's one bloody murder. It's very well done.
Wishing Stairs is a fine (Five stars) movie which reflects well the elite class of Asian horror. There's also some quality high-school drama so if you like that you should watch this. The movies is stylish and it has all the elements to be a classic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"If you give your heart, the 29th step will appear and grant your
It's one of those "Be Careful What You Wish For" type horror flicks with an invisible 29th step taking the place of the genie's lamp. Overweight Hae-ju climbs the 28 stairs nearby her boarding school hoping to lose the excess fat that has made her quite a fixture for chuckles and ridicule. When she takes that one extra step, it seems her wish has come true when Hae-ju notices such rapid weight-loss in such a short period of time. Kim so-hee is quite a success in her ballerina class and an apparent shoo-in for the special part of Gisele in a major Russian play. She's in love with a class-mate, Jin-sung(the film doesn't just come right out and say it loudly, but you can see her adoration for Jin-sung in nearly every moment they are together)who desperately covets the same part so-hee seems destined to portray. Jealous and obsessed, Jin-sung scales the 28 stairs, eyes closed in concentration, hoping to make that one extra step desiring the role of Gisele over so-hee. When, like Hae-ju, she feels that 29th step under her feet, Jin-sung gains hope that it'll all work out for her behalf. It does, but there are consequences for making such a request..in a tragic set of events, Jin-sung will accidentally push so-hee down a stairway. Kim so-hee's leg is damaged in the process and subsequent grief leads to the young girl to the point of taking a leap out her hospital window. Blamed and hated by the students in her class, Jin-sung gets what she asked for, but it costs her much more than she receives. But, Jin-sung's nightmare merely begins..secretly Hae-ju had a fixated hero-worship for Kim so-hee and takes to the 29 steps in request that the one she deeply cared for would return. In true "monkey's paw" fashion, it's quite possible Kim so-hee just might answer that request, with both Jin-sung and Hae-ju becoming haunted by her spirit.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wishing Stair is the 3rd movie of the "Whispering Corridor" series
which has 5 movies (Whispering Corridor, Memento Mori, Wishing Stair,
Voice and A Blood Pledge). I have now seen the 5 movies and I must say
this one is my favourite. The worst being "A Blood Pledge" and by far.
Plot : Wishing Stair is the story of three young women confronted by the twisted power of the fox stair. Fox spirits are well known in Asian cultures for being either way good or evil in their actions. Those 3 women will cross the easy path of wishing stair, realizing finnally that whatever your wish, it won't go as you expected.
Soo-Hee is a kind, intelligent and skilled person who seems have success in whatever she does. But behind her shiny appearance, she's unsecure and rely almost obssesivly on her friend Jin-Sung. Beside her love for ballet, the thing she loves the most is her friend Jin-Sung. She wants to be forever with her.
Jin-Sung is the contrary, she must work hard in anything she does. She loves ballet, but she's jealous of her friend Soo-Hee that is too kind with her. Jin-Sung is jealous because her friend is close to her parents, has a lot of money and is a shame that Soo-Hee is always on the giving side. Her own words "Kim Soo-Hee, I really hate you. You make me feel miserable.". Ji-SUng love her friend, but she wants to win at least once.
Hae-Ju is an outcast, being constantly bullied for being fat. The only person who seems to be nice with her is Soo-Hee. For that reason she idolize her. The only thing she wants is to have a friend.
All those secret desire will turn into a nightmare for each of them.
My commentary : This movie has really a great script that is base of the life of Asian students where people are pushed to confrontation by the society. You must be the best in anything, always. Soo-Hee is pushed by her parents to succeed in anything. She must take Ballet class because of her mother. She likes it, but it wasn't really her choice. Did you notice two huge posters with Soo-Hee's pictures? That meant she was the #1 student in school for at least 2 semester. Soo-Hee was somewhat popular at school, but only on the shallow side. Her only true friend was Jin-Sung and it was her own choice. Her love for Jin-Sung was too strong, too obsessive. Being with her friend forever makes me think that she felt more then just friendship. She was a little bossy with Jin-Sung, making her do things she don't necessary wants to do. But she showered her with gifts expecting nothing more then to be with her.
I totally understand how Jin-Sung felt. Jin-Sung really saw Soo-Hee as her best friend. But Soo-Hee was too kind with her and that bothered her. She hates to be always the one to received and the rivalry as a ballerina didn't help. She didn't meant to hurt Soo-Hee, but I see it as the work from the fox spirit. It makes do thing you didn't wanted. The only way for Jin-Sung to go legitly to the competition was to remove Soo-Hee from the competition, But her wish was granted later when she *spoiler* pushed Soo-Hee down the stair. I'm not really sure what happens to Soo-Hee. Did she commit suicide believe she had lost the only thing she cared about ? Was she killed by the fox spirit so he could grant her wish ? Anyway, I'm sure that Jin-Sung met Soo-Hee's ghost after her death in her room because of the strong emotions.
Then the poor Hae-Ju wished that Soo-Hee came back to her. But Soo-Hee's ghost is not thinking rationally as humans do. Led by the strong feelings to Jin-Sung, she takes possession of Hae-Ju's body. But Jin-Sung do not believe her. And that leaded her to her death. I don't know if Soo-Hee's plan has always been to kill Jin-Sung to be forever with her.
I liked the acting the three main actresses where great. Just unlucky that the movie was the same year as "A tale of two sisters" with the awesome acting from Lim Soo-Jung. Pak Han-Byeol was believable in her character. Song Ji-Hyo too. And Jo An did a nice performance as mimicking Han-Byeol's Soo-Hee. Excep the part where she really seems crazy. But that remind me of the scene in The Shining where Jack Nickleson break the door with an axe. It was that kind of crazyness that Jo An showed in her eyes. It might be exaggerated, but it's one of my favorite scene in the movie. Oh and Pak Han-Byeol is really, really pretty :)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched this movie before Whispering corridors and this movie is so much more entertaining than whispering corridors. The plot for this movie is that there are two girls who fight for the first place in a ballet competition. One of the girls pushed the other down the stairs and the girl felt betrayed sad and committed suicide. This movie deals with a friendship triangle between three girls. The idea for this movie was just great the storyline is wonderful. The beginning was slow paced. Frightening scenes only come on the second half of the movie. There was time to provide enough character development between the characters for the first half of the movie. This movie is really entertaining, and the idea of using the wishing stairs was just fantastic. This movie showed true friendship and betrayal among students. The idea used in this movie was so much better than whispering corridors which the idea was about a teacher who locked her student in the art room because of her superstition. This movie really shows what happens between friends in real life. This movie deals a little bit about Karma as well. I loved the ending of this movie.The idea that makes use of this stairs that would grant your wish was well done. The ending was really scary. The scene which showed So Hee climbing in from the window was terrifying and that scary scene was just very creatively made. However, this movie gets a little complicating towards the end and requires one to think what is happening. Other than that, this movie is highly recommended. If you like this type of movies that deals with wishes try out bedazzled. Score: 8.5/10(Wonderfully made)
Yun Jae-yeon, the first woman to direct a movie of the Yeogo Goedam
series, faced a big challenge when making Wishing Stairs. It was Yun's
debut, and the two leading actresses, Song Ji-hyo and Park Han-byeol,
were newcomers at that time as well. Also, Yun had to meet high
expectations because Wishing Stair's predecessors, Whispering Corridors
and Memento Mori, had been very successful.
Just like all of the Yeogo Goedam movies, Wishing Stairs has a closed story of its own but plays with the same themes. Again, it takes place at a girls' school, this time a school of arts. There, the main characters, Yun Jin-seong (Song) and Kim Sohee (Park), are studying ballet. They are close friends, but their friendship gets challenged when they both enter a contest for a place to study at a Russian ballet faculty. Yun Jin-seong envies her more talented friend. She works hard but just gets scolded by the teacher, whereas Kim Sohee impresses everybody with her effortless skill; she looks like the sure winner of the contest. Yun's jealousy grows till the point that she even seeks supernatural help: Campus legend has it that there is a stair case on the campus which grants a wish when you reach its last step. But as Yun climbs the stairs, the viewer already knows that this is a bad idea. For folklore tells that wishes granted by a supernatural force often come with undesirable side effects, and Wishing Stairs confirms this.
Like the previous Yeogo Goedam films, Wishing Stairs isn't a real horror movie. The supernatural serves as a vehicle to accelerate a worldly tragedy. So the movie is less about horror and more about people feeling trapped because they are unable to become the persons they want to be. This idea is stressed by the third main character, Eom. Eom is an overweight outsider, and if the other students notice her at all, it's usually just to make fun of her. She tries to escape her misery by idolizing Kim Sohee, dreaming of being her friend or perhaps even being her.
However, it is also Eom (Jo An) where direction wasn't flawless. Unlike her character, Jo happens to be pretty and slim, so she was put in a fat-suit. The problem with that approach is that viewers always notice fat-suits, no matter how well they are made. This might not be a problem in comedies, but in this drama it is a distraction. Also, Jo's performance is sometimes at the border of slapstick, which doesn't do her tragic character justice.
Another distraction was the use of an incoherent flashback. It seems an obligation for Yeogo Goedam movies to employ flashbacks to reveal dark secrets of the past, so Wishing Stairs has one flashback as well. Without spoiling too much, it's about an act of sabotage. However, that small part of the plot doesn't roll out plausibly. It causes more confusion than insight and should have been deleted entirely.
But the strengths of Wishing Stairs outweigh its flaws. The acting of Song and Park is great. The movie has a high production value. And like its predecessors, it has a certain charm and unique mix of drama and horror to it. It is a tragedy of universal nature, so viewers can relate to it even if they don't happen to be Korean teenage girls (as is the case with this old bloke). Wishing Stairs is a worthy entry in the series, which makes director Yun's debut a real accomplishment.
Wishing Stairs is the least scary of the Yeogo Goedam films so far
(I've still to see the fourth however). It's just the same old clichés
of 'be careful what you wish for' done in a South Korean girls school.
It's like Wishmaster gone Asian with a bit of Grange Hill thrown in for
The windy atmosphere is don again, the lesbian love thing is done AGAIN and the old, dusty secret room is done again too. In fact, when I think about it, this movie is nothing more than some rehashed scenes from the first two. It's not boring in any way, but is certainly not scary and not a film I could sit through again.
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