Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait (2007) Poster

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Highly forgettable movie...
paul_haakonsen14 August 2021
I stumbled upon the 2007 South Korean horror movie "Muoi" here in 2021. Needless to say that I needed no persuasion to sit down and watch it, despite the fact of never having heard about it prior to watching it.

The movie's cover was definitely an eye-catcher, and as I saw that movie's cover, I have to say that my interest was instantly drawn to the movie.

However, writers Zizak and Tae-kyeong Kim just didn't manage to come up with a storyline that proved entertaining or enjoyable. In fact, the storyline was so insanely mundane that it was a difficult task to keep having an interest in what transpired on the screen. And it was a losing battle, because nothing interesting happened on the screen, and the character gallery in the movie was about as mundane and bland as could be.

There was nothing scary in "Muoi", unless you are an Asian viewer perhaps. But for a seasoned horror veteran such as myself, then "Muoi" was a swing and a miss. A downright boring movie actually.

The acting in the movie was bland and I bet I will have forgotten about the movie completely come next week. But of course, when having an inferior script and storyline to work with, as well as having characters with the personalities of slugs, then the actresses and actors in the movie had very little to work with.

"Muoi" was a movie that came and went without as much as a nudge or anything. This was such a bland movie experience. And I can't recommend that you waste your time, money or effort on this movie from director Tae-kyeong Kim.

My rating of "Muoi" lands on a generous three out of ten stars. This was, in fact, one of the most boring and uneventful South Korean horror movies I have stumbled upon.
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Vincentiu30 September 2012
"full of clichés" is the first verdict. but beyond it , it is a story. not very original but seductive. and the admirable work of director to create a good scene for the story of Muoi using the old instruments and effects of genre. it is a ghost tale, an Oriental horror, travel of past events in present. but it is beautiful. not only for the collaboration between Vietnamese and Coreean cinematography, not for moral, end and wonderful images.but for emotion far from words. it is a moral story and delicate pledge for basic values. it is not a disappointment exercise . only a kind of fairy tale and fruit of a travel in the heart of Gothic story. so, nothing new. and nothing bad. only an artistic exercise.
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Movie filled with creepy moments but never gets real scary
chrichtonsworld21 September 2007
When I saw the trailer I knew I had to watch this movie! Because the ending of that trailer really creeped me out! Sadly "Muoi" never comes close to that scene! As a matter of fact that particular scene (involving a little girl) is nowhere to be seen in the movie! That doesn't mean that "Muoi" isn't creepy! It sure is! You will hear a lot of strange noises and there seems to be a lot happening in the dark!For the most time I couldn't make out what it was! Judging by the sound and music it supposed to be scary! But that is all! It never really gets scary! A lot of events are implied which means that too much is left to our imagination! (I thought that this was done to create windows for other possibility's than the usual supernatural elements! Believe me if i say that matters presented aren't that complex). The story is actually very simple and ordinary for a ghost movie like this! The way it is constructed and told though is too abstract for my taste! I only wished that more would have been done with the premise! Since the legend of Muoi is quite interesting and could have been the start of a new horror icon! The problem is that the mystery that has to be solved is pretty obvious! Only one time I really got surprised! I hate to say it but "Muoi" lacks an important amount of suspense and gore that could have compensated for all the shortcomings!
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Writer works off her guilt over trashing a friend in her last book.
suite9224 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Yun-hui travels from Korea to Vietnam to learn about the legend of a painting of a woman named Muoi. Seo-yeon meets her there, and guides her regarding the legend. The two women have some sort of past but have not seen one another for three years.

Seo-yeon explains the Muoi story in brief while walking in the places where it happened. Muoi was born of low parentage, but managed to attract an artist who took time to paint her portrait. Unfortunately, he was engaged to a rich, vindictive woman, and had to return to her. Muoi's rival came to her while he was gone, and had Muoi's legs broken; she also threw a pint or so of acid on Muoi's face. When the artist tried to see Muoi, she would not see him because of her damaged face, and subsequently hung herself over the loss. The story goes that she became a grudge ghost because of the unresolved anger and desire for vengeance.

Yun-hui takes this in. With more details and embellishments, she hopes to write a bestselling book. Seo-yeon hands her a batch of old papers, photographs, and notes that she had collected for Yun-hui. Yun-hui starts through the stack; Seo-yeon starts a large painting.

Through some machinations, they get to see a copy of a painting of Muoi. Just after this, Yun-hui tells Seo-yeon that she had already seen a painting of Muoi. When she tries to show the photo to Seo-yeon, the camera had only a blank. Seo-yeon tells Yun-hui that there was no painting there; it had to have been that Muoi's ghost. Yun-hui dreams about Seo-yeon confronting her about how she had libeled Seo-yeon in her last book.

Oi, this films seems to be much more about Yun-hui's guilt about writing ill of Seo-yeon in her previous book than anything else. The two women have a confrontation about the book, and Yun-hui decides to return to Korea. Before she goes, Seo-yeon tells her of how a woman had commissioned three men to rape her while her boyfriend filmed it. This was why Seo-yeon left Korea, never to return. Yun-hui did not know about this.

The two make nice. Seo-yeon has some sort of problem overnight, and Yun-hui goes to a temple to find out more about the case. The temple seems to have a lot of Muoi artifacts.

This is the point where the film really gets creepy. It proceeds quickly to a grim and thorough conclusion.


Cinematography: 10/10 Fine.

Sound: 10/10 No problems.

Acting: 7/10 A little uneven but mostly good.

Screenplay: 9/10 Comes to a reasonable conclusion given the build up.

Special Effects: 7/10 Reasonable.
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A beautiful story of revenge
siriouslysid27 October 2010
I had to review this because there are only two other reviews and both didn't really like it.

I really enjoyed muoi, The story was something a bit different and really interesting, the setting was beautiful. It had the usual twists and turns or Asian horror and great moments of suspense. For the first time in years i actually jumped out of my skin at one point, and not in the cliché American horror way, this film is really smart, and well made. I was almost in tears at a few points because the storyline has some really sad parts; but any horror that triggers emotion, except for just fear, always makes it a better film in my opinion.

I think it is definitely worth watching if you get the chance to, its probably the best horror i've seen in a while.
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I watch this in 2019, so...
chelsietristany17 April 2019
First of all, I want to state that I watch this in 2019. Literally 12 years after the release (and probably the making) of this film, which is more than a decade ago. I must say that this movie exceeds my expectations.

The jump scares are all predictable, yes, because I watch this in a gap of 12 years, where I already consume way too much horror movies to be scared by jump scares in 2007. If I were to watch this in 2007, it might be scary. This is not the best 'old' horror movie I've watched and as long as I remember, but it serves good plot although it's just a cliché type of revenge story with sad/tragic past of the ghost. I've seen countless horror movies (especially Asian) with that kind of typical plot and past story of the ghost, which is the thing that I still quite like even though there's too many same type of background story everywhere. But it's still good, at least, it's clear enough for us why the ghost is there in the first place. And that simple and overused explanation still quite satisfy us. Unlike some recent modern ghost stories (mostly Western) that involve devils too much to the point we just know that devil is around, and the exact reason why devil is evil is because they were created to be evil. The end.

That's what attract me the most from Asian horror movies. They do not give us as wonderful photogenic places nor audio effect as those western movies but they always seem to have the right plot in the right place.
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The best parts were the Vietnamese ones
djepic130 September 2007
This is one of the first times Korea has worked directly with Vietnamese producers and actors to create a feature length film. This is important to note because it is a joint production between a rich and developed industry (Korea) versus a very small and poor one (Vietnam). Although the film is thoroughly Korean in style and direction, the Vietnamese setting and supporting characters add a very nice touch.

The teaser trailer released actually has little to do with this film. It was almost like a separate 'fake' trailer. I find the premise of that more interesting than the story of the film.

The story has a lot of twists and is rather hard to comprehend. The best parts were definitely the Vietnamese 'flashbacks' presented a few times throughout the film. I wish there could have been more spoken dialogue in Vietnamese, however.

The film has a unique setting but it uses way too many East-Asian horror clichés. It almost becomes annoying and boring. Using 'cliches' is almost unavoidable in horror but depending on how talented the director is, he/she can present it in a new way.

Muoi tries to find its place within Korean horror but ultimately fails to bring anything worthy to the genre.

I recommend this film mainly in support of Vietnam.
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