It’s winter break, and I’m optimizing my brief stint of freedom wisely. That is, I’m hitting a movie marathon with my dear sister. Her fat list of 5-star movies (mostly horror and creepy ones from the Japanese and the Deutch) puts my little list to shame. Each night, we spend the evening watching movies and the like, in the dark, before copyright infringements wipes them off the Internet.
A few days ago, I watched the 2001 South Korean horror film, Sorum 소름.
Director = Yoon Jong-chan
Kim Myeong-min = Yong-hyun, a taxi-driver who moves into an eerie, ramshackle, but strangely familiar apartment building
Jang Jin-young = Sun-yeong, a young, battered woman who longs for her ‘lost’ child.
The room Yong-hyun moves into Room 504, previously occupied by a young writer who died in a mysterious fire. 30 years ago in the same apartment building, a domestic disturbance turned into a terrible tragedy. A young wife, abused and betrayed, and her child were left to die in a fire, while her husband runs off with his mistress. Now her ghost roams the apartment, sadly longing and looking for her beloved baby.
There are 2 types of ghosts: 1) those that wander, lost and 2) those that enter the bodies of the living, not wanting to leave the world. On a side track, it’s like the episode of South Park, called “Dead Celebrities,” where Michael Jackson has some ‘unfinished business’ and refuses to leave the world of the living. What does he do? He enters the body of little Ike and the South Park kids try to pry his spirit out by entering “Ike-MJ” in a beauty pageant.
Yong-hyun encounters and hooks up with a mysterious, quiet woman, Sun-yeong, from down the hall. At one point in the movie, the conversation turns to her dead son. Yong-hyun mentions he’s an orphan himself and wonders if he was thrown-away like trash or simply lost because his parents died. He constantly brings up this topic, to the disconsolation of Sun-yeong; the reminder of her beloved son is too much, too painful.
The movie takes on a slow pace. The surprises and secrets do not start to twist and fit together until the last 30-minutes of the 2-hour movie. Then, we see Yong-hyun’s inner Hulk rupture, his real connection with the past and present, and the answer he has been seeking his entire life.