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School can be hell. So it's a perfect spot for horror movies that focus on the symbolic supernatural problems of teenagers.

In the case of the superb "Whispering Corridors", the setting is a Korean girls' school. While the finale is a bit drippy (literally), director Park Ki-Yong never resorts to gore or cheap scares -- just a lot of creepy visuals, shocking attacks, and a double twist ending that you won't see coming.

As the movie opens, tyrannical Mrs. Park (Jin-hie Park) is making a call to the youngest (and pleasantest) teacher, Eun-Young (Mi-yeon Lee) -- about Eun-Young's best friend Jin-Ju, who died nine years ago. Then she's yanked up by an invisible force, and is found hanged by students the next morning. Eun-Young is left to ponder Park's final words: "She never left."

Soon gruesome events become more commonplace -- student Ji-oh (Gyu-ri Kim) notices a strange bloodstain over her desk, photos are altered, and the student-molesting Mad Dog is savagely murdered. Eun-Young starts sifting through clues -- and the abandoned art shed where Jin-Ju died -- to figure out where the ghost will strike next. But Jin-Ju is far closer than anyone has suspected...

"Whispering Corridors" isn't really a horror movie as much as a ghost movie -- it prefers to creep you out, rather than freak you out. In fact, most of the horror comes from how the students are treated by the callous teachers, to the point where it's hard to get TOO upset when Jin-Ju kills the people who tormented her in life.

That seems to have been Park Ki-Yong's intention, but she doesn't neglect the ghost angle. There are plenty of creepy moments here -- creaky floors, quiet corridors, a man being murdered by a curtain, or a painting of a bloody dead woman. What's more, Park can disturb us on a deeper level, such as the frenzied flashbacks to poor Jin-Ju being bullied to death.

For all the quiet scariness, there are moments of rapid, brutal violence as well (Mad Dog being strangled and bashed into a window). The only weak spot: the final confrontation with Jin-Ju seems weirdly soppy.

This is very much a character-driven movie, and the actors do wonderful jobs: Mi-yeon Lee as the bright-eyed Eun-Young, who is haunted by guilt over her best friend's unhappy life and tragic death, and Gyu-ri Kim as a current student who resembles Eun-Young during her younger days. The girl who plays Ji-oh's shy pal does an excellent job as well.

"Whispering Corridors" is a rare type of ghost story -- slow, eerie, and prefers to haunt you instead of freaking you out. Definitely a must-see.
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on October 4, 2013
The world's worst high school is haunted by a petty-pouty-vengeful student who keeps attending classes until one teacher learns the truth, dying with the knowledge: "Jin-ju is definitely dead.....but she's still attending school." All this begs the question, why keep attending this lousy school. She died there; it couldn't have been all that fun. The teacher's are vicious and think nothing of slapping the students around. In one horrific scene, a teacher slaps a student causing her to fall to the floor where he continues to beat her severely while screaming, "Die die!" When he isn't fondling girls, he's thrashing them. What kind of school is this!?

At least this semi-horror film is very stylishly filmed, with a couple of startling images where terror should reside, but doesn't. This is as tame as it gets, as far as ghost stories go. Where clues should be there's an incessant sound of dripping throughout, don't know why. There's a blood stain on the ceiling in one classroom that keeps getting bigger, don't know why. There's a set of bells that seem to have some importance but I don't know why. A lot of elements are repeated with no explanation. If they are meant to shiver us uncontrollably, they don't. This movie feels more like a testimony to the cinematographer than anything scary. I will say it held my interest and at times was quite absorbing. But. It isn't a horror movie which is what I wanted/expected to see.

There's nothing worse than a ghost with issues.
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on July 15, 2012
Tartan Asia Extreme are so terrible at accurately representing these movies with the packaging, everything looks like it's going to be bloody as hell, like each film is an insane gore fest.

Whispering Corridors is not like that at all. This is a very quiet sort of movie, spending most of its time examining the friendships and antagonisms between girls at a private school, showing us the steps leading up to a very believable betrayal. It is very much a drama where the conflict, when it comes, is usually very human. The supernatural aspects are integral to the story, but not really major until the final third of the movie. They are well done, and sometimes quite creepy, but ultimately these supernatural elements fit into the dramatic vision the film has created, rather than the movie becoming more of a horror movie.

I am a huge fan of ghost stories that are as sad as they are scary. Some of my favourites are: The Others and The Devil's Backbone (Special Edition) and The Orphanage - this movie is not as good as those, unfortunately, but it is enjoyable in its own way. It's very interesting and feels similar, but if you haven't seen those other three movies, I would start there. If you are looking for something Korean and ghostly in particular, I would recommend the amazing A Tale of Two Sisters (Two-Disc Edition) )
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on December 26, 2009
WHISPERING CORRIDORS is the kind of movie that you will want to watch at least three times - partly because the story is so layered that it takes a while to let it sink in. As a western viewer, I found it a little challenging to tell one girl from the other - not that all Asians look alike, but the adolescent girls all in uniform start to blend together. Maybe this was part of the director's intention, because the film deals with the crushing societal pressure to conform. I watched this late at night and dozed off at least twice; this was not because the movie was boring. It is not the kind of film that jolts you. It's a ghost story that works on a slow burn, which is part of the reason I like it so much. The ending especially impressed me - the past is always living in the present, the old ghosts never go away and there are always plenty of new ones to join them. A conductor once introduced a classical piece by saying, "This is music for virtuoso listeners". This film requires virtuoso watchers. Don't be afraid. Dive in. But realize that you're diving into the deep end of the pool.
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Mysterious disappearances and deaths plague a girls-school in WHISPERING CORRIDORS, the second part of the "GHOST SCHOOL TRILOGY". Has a long-dead girl returned to exact her overdue vengeance? Can the living figure things out before it's too late, or is the school doomed? WC raises the creep-factor a bit higher than the first movie. The untimely demises are wonderfully, wickedly orchestrated! An excellent chiller!...
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on January 10, 2013
This is where it all started. Also...this storyline is the original taken by many other filmmakers.
The idea of a series set in HS...girls..will guarantee a solid following. Add, talented writers/actors and actresses/great get my point?
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on December 29, 2013
The movie was great
I loved it, It is a fantastic horror film
I also have 4 and 5 of this series I love them so much
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on November 14, 2012
This isn't as good as Voice or the other school type haunting movies. It jumps around too much so it loses my interest.
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on February 21, 2011
I haven't seen it (sorry if the stars are misleading, but they don't let you post without them), but I'm looking for any movies that deal with Korean shamanism and ghosts (but not JUST ghosts). Does this movie talk about mudang?
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on September 8, 2008
Kind of confusing, but I got it. 80's style film. I will definitely keep it in my collection.
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