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To start, I want to mention something: I have a list of "Top Ten Scariest Asian Movies". This may have been the weakest in my original list (though the 'weakest' still made the list for almost a year as a Top Ten scary-as-Hell Asian horror flick). Since I created the list, I saw the blood-curdling, cleverly-scripted 'Coming Soon' and decided it had earned a place over 'Cinderella'. I removed it, but that doesn't mean I don't want to give this creepy Korean thriller its props here.
First of all, if you love K-Horror, this deserves a look. Yes, it has one or two elements that appear in other Asian horror. I should point out that except in some extreme cases, I actually like the formula and the common images (black hair covering a face, usually with one ghostly dead eye peeking out, and the horrifying, creepy reveals of what is almost always referred to in the movie's promo materials/synopsis as 'the Dark Secret behind it all'. Usually in the last act, the 'horrifying buried past' is usually so brutal and disturbing you have sympathy for the 'Onyro' (lf you're familiar with Asian horror enough to have done a little research, you know the meaning--if not, this is a great time you to look it up) along with the fear. When handled right, the true back-story is so horrible that you kinda decide the ghost/Onryo out for revenge has every reason to come back and try to cause serious damage.
I gave Cinderella seven stars rather than the 9-10 I give to perfect, close-to-soiling- yourself in utter terror Asian horror such as Shutter and Ju-on. I took three stars off based mainly on my opinion that some parts, especially the first act, are slower than I thought they needed to be, dragging down the film and viewer a bit. The movie could have stand to lose 10-15 minutes for a tighter edit. HOWEVER get ready for the last act of Cinderella--it pounces right at you out of the dark.
This is one of those last acts, and with a back story that stuck with me. There's a couple hints, but it turns out to be way uglier (no pun intended-if you've seen the movie you'll get the pun) than anyone imagined. I also actually started talking back to the flat screen TV a couple times (if I'd seen it in a theater and said the same things at that volume, I would have been asked by an usher to calm down) and at least once hearing myself urgently and loudly giving a character advice ("oh no, no, NO, don't, DO NOT go in there, Oh God, RUN!"). I do that frequently during really addictive, well-made, fun TV shows (True Blood, Breaking Bad, and Spartacus for example), but it's rare when I watch a movie. Yet another movie on this list where a movie-watching exception was made. Funny thing, it's usually Korean chillers like "Cinderella" or Korean crime-revenge "I Saw the Devil" and "Memories of Murder" that get me so hooked in that (more than once) almost blew off a deadline because I HAD to know what happened.
I saw that many reviewers cited the movie for being 'too melodramatic' and 'more like some soap opera'. I can see a base argument for 'melodramatic' ; fair enough,I suppose (though I personally don't agree). However, a SOAP? Jesus, really? If so, I'd like to ask what the hell kind of fu(ked-up soaps have YOU been watching? The only thing on TV right now that is a 'horror-drama' and would even come close to this claim is American Horror Story. Note: if you're a big fan of the show AHS --like I am--you'll probably enjoy this movie.
Yeah, Cinderella is no Shutter or Two Sisters (then again, nothing put on film is) but if you're looking for some Oynro-genre scares and a twist or two you didn't see coming, watch it now. There's much worse ways (and MUCH worse Asian horror movies to watch, trust me) to spend 100 minutes. As long as you weren't really planning on sleeping that night anyway .
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