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Arang' Interesting But Falls Short

2006/06/29 | 474 views | Permalink | Source

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By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

A new movie "Arang" takes its main theme from one of the most popular Korean folk tales, "Arang Tale", and develops it into a mixture of horror and thriller with a modern touch.

While maintaining the gist of the original tale, about the agony of a sorrowful ghost, the familiar tale is suitably changed for the present.

As the film offers its audiences clues behind a series of tragic accidents, it also attempts to invite them to an interesting game of "whodunit".

But, as the film has a few flaws in story development, it ends up getting stuck somewhere between an unsuccessful horror and thriller.

In the original tale, county governors die strangely, one after another, a few days after taking positions in a town in Milyang, North Kyongsang Province. A young and brave governor who is newly dispatched to the town after the series of mysterious deaths decides to investigate and finds out that they were killed by a female ghost who haunted them. Yet, he learns her visit was to ask for help in settling a grudge.

A maid for a noble family, she was raped and killed by one of the sons. The governor catches and punishes the murderer and has her body buried properly.

In the film, the brave governor is adapted into a tough female detective, So-young, (played by Song Yoon-ah), who investigates a serial murder case.

While tackling the case with her partner, she finds that those murdered received e-mails from the same sender before they were killed. So-young and her partner link the mail to a blog, `Min-jung's Salt Storehouse'.

The investigation reveals the victims were friends and involved in a violent death 10 years ago, but only one of them was jailed.

The four friends raped a girl named Min-jung in a salt storehouse, and when her boyfriend tried to stop them, they beat him to death.

But the mystery regarding the serial murders is still unsolved as Min-jung's ghost is always accompanied by the ghost of a little girl. And the film enters a new phase as So-young's tragic memory of being raped is revealed and overlapped with Min-jung's sorrow.

Overall, the film is an interesting attempt in itself and it could've produced a successful result satisfying both horror and thriller film buffs, but only if it had a slightly more well-organized buildup and tactful revelations.

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