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Wishing Stairs

3.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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(Jul 19, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Legend has it, if you climb the 28 stairs leading to the school dormitory and count each step aloud, a 29th step will appear and a spirit will grant you a wish. If your intentions are honorable, your wish can be a blessing of good fortune. But at this high school, where paranoia and jealousy reign supreme, malicious wishes are about to unleash an unspeakable evil. Be careful what you wish for; some wishes were never meant to be granted.

The South Korean "Ghost School" trilogy comes to a close with Wishing Stairs, a typically creepy example of modern Asian horror. First-time director Yoon Jae-Yeon was fresh out of film school when she signed on for this commercial assignment, and her rookie status makes this a lesser entry in the "Asian Extreme" genre, following the trilogy's previous installments, Whispering Corridors and Memento Mori. Still, fine performances and attention to psychological detail make this an effectively eerie study of peer pressure, classroom cruelty, and blind ambition in a girls' art school, where three aspiring ballerinas make fateful wishes upon an enchanted staircase (or is it cursed?) near their school. According to legend, if you climb the 28 steps and count each step aloud, a 29th step will magically appear and a fox-spirit will grant your wish. Fierce competition, paranoia, and malicious intentions make these "wishing stairs" a recipe for disaster, when one girl commits suicide and another wishes for her revival. At that point, Wishing Stairs employs standard-issue horror techniques that will be familiar to anyone who's seen Ju-On or the Japanese version of Dark Water (including the ghostly girl with long black hair). For patient viewers, the film's frightful climax comes not a moment too soon. A comprehensive "making of" documentary is included, including interview clips with primary cast and crew. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Making-of featurette
  • Director's sketchbook and notes
  • Original theatrical promotional materials
  • Photo gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Ji-hyo Song, Han-byeol Park, An Jo, Ji-Yeon Park, Su-a Hong
  • Directors: Jae-yeon Yun
  • Writers: Soyoung Lee
  • Producers: Choon-yeon Lee, Eun-mi Ahn, Jae-hong Kim
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1), Korean (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Tartan Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009NCQL4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #170,721 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Wishing Stairs" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on February 12, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Wishing Stairs is the third in the South Korean high school horror trilogy, and my personal favourite, with Whispering Corridors and Memento Mori coming 2nd and 3rd. The movie revolves around 28 steps leading up to a high school girl's dormitory. But there's also a legend. "If the 29th step appears, it'll grant your wish. ... If you wish really hard, the fox will listen out of pity." So says Kim Soh-wee to her friend Yoon Jin-Sung. Both are high school students at the Yonghwa Art Institute, a specialized art school. True, the fox may grant a wish, but a backlash in the form of tragedy and terror occur as a result, with the wishing student meeting death. All that's due to the competition and jealousy that flare up at a specialized art school.

Soh-Wee is pretty, friendly, lively, and a kind of leader that other students look up to. She's also generous, as she buys concert tickets for herself and Jin-Sung, ditching school, and also the only one to be nice to Uhm Hae-Ju, a rather porky girl whom everyone else teases. However, Soh-wee is also the prima ballerina at school, and when the 26th Seoul Ballet contest arrives, with only one student allowed to nominate the school, despite the teacher Ms. Muhn's assurances of a fair audition, it's basically an audition in name only. But as Ms. Muhn says, the role of Giselle (in Adolf Adamson's Giselle and Albrecht) requires one to convey a lot of emotion, which is no problem for Soh-Hee.

As for Jin-Sung, she's a bit shy, sort of uptight, isn't that good at ballet, and is clearly overshadowed by her prettier friend. She wants to win just once, and she falls prey to jealousy. She climbs the stairs and guess what she wishes for? For her, the backlash occurs when Soh-Hee, whom she was in a tussle with, commits suicide.
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Format: DVD
As you've no doubt already read, Wishing Stairs is the third entry in the popular 'Haunted School' series of Korean horror films, beginning with Whispering Corridors and followed by Memento Mori. Whispering Corridors was very well shot and well acted, but the real horror inflicted by the cruel, perverse, and overbearing teacher vastly overshadowed any of the supernatural horrors in it. Memento Mori functioned better as a heart-wrenching drama of the forbidden love between two school girls than as a horror film, which feels sort of tacked-on. Wishing Stairs, while not quite perfect, seems to have finally gotten the mix correct.

According to the film's legend, the 28 stairs to the dormitories are said to be enchanted by the Fox spirit, and if the 29th step appears, the Fox will grant your wish. Of course, the wish never turns out like any of the characters would hope. Enter So-Hee and Jin-Sung, two close friends who take ballet classes together (when they're not skipping school to go to concerts). So-Hee is the prettier of the two, and the more talented, however she is only taking ballet because of her mother's own life failings and doesn't really enjoy it. Jin-Sung is slightly more average-looking, and not as talented as her friend, but her passion for the art is genuine. Of course, this passion causes conflict when an audition comes up and Jin-Sung knows in her heart that she'll be passed over in favor of her more blase' friend, and this causes deep resentment in her.

So imagine her surprise when she sees the much-maligned Hye-Ju, once the school's chubby bulls-eye for cruel pranks, suddenly svelte as a result of the stairs, Jin-Sung implores the Fox to allow her to win the competition. Of course, she wins, but only as a result of So-Hee injuring her foot.
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I rented this because I really liked the first in this unrelated "series", Whispering Corridors. This 3rd movie has come a long way visually and with budget. It scared the HELL out of me visually at times. Unfortunately it also confused me. I wasn't expecting flashbacks and sequences that you had no way to be sure if they were real or not, and the plot just wasn't strong.
Two friends at a girl's school in Seoul take ballet class in school. It came naturally for So-hee, but Jin-sung has to work very hard to be good and the teacher reminded her. So-hee had been sitting out injured w/ wraps to heal. As things move along, we see that So-hee is an adorable, vibrant personality that does things spontaneously, like sneaking out to a concert or into the school dorm to talk to Jin-sung late at night. One night she says she only does ballet because her mother forces her and she'd rather quit. Then she says that it makes her feel alive. Before she leaves she tells Jin-sung that in 10 years they'll be performing in London, her as Giselle (the lead) and Jin as some other character and leaves. So-hee is also pretty insensitive, clueless, and self-preoccupied. Around this time, the fat, crazy girl in the school with orange hair has been wandering around- being weird. The "wishing stairs" are mentioned and explained in the beginning, and her fascination. One day- she appears to have lost weight, but she still acts and walks awkwardly- she tells Jin-sung what happened. In the meantime, it has been announced that there will be an audition and the best goes to a competition where the winner goes to ballet school in Russia. No one is excited because So-hee takes off her wraps and dances like she was never injured- which inspires gossip. Jin-sung overhears So-hee getting pointers on her dance,etc.
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