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Off-Key 'Cello' a Far Cry From Classic Horror

2005/08/18 Source

By Philip Dorsey Iglauer

Cars are nearly as dangerous as musical instruments in "Cello", billed as this summer's last silver screen scream.

Where usually character development or plot is used to thrill or spook, the summer's horror flick finale tries to invoke screams through deafening bursts of horror movie music by Lee Han-na-I. Though the some scenes caused a jolt, or were at times shocking, genuine horror movie shrieks never came.

In the not-so-scary "Cello", evil seems to lack a will to kill, because aside from a tenuous revenge motive, the murdering musical instrument is pretty much without a purpose. Yes, it is true. In the horror movies it shouldn't really matter, but this one took too many liberties with the genre.

"Cello" is the unintentional third in this Summer's shock-horror trinity of possessed inanimate objects _ "Red Shoes" and "The Wig" "The Wig" being the other two _ only this one was a bit disappointing.

"Right after watching the film, now that I think about it I would have liked to make a scarier film", Open the link Aug. 11 reported writer/director Lee Woo-cheol as saying at a press screening of the film in Seoul.

Much of the audience wished it was scarier as well.

Still, many of this summer's slew of horror flicks were more schlock than shock-horror in imbuing spookiness into everyday objects. So, in the context of this summer, it was only slightly disappointing.

And Lee did not have a lot to work with in his first feature film: only one star actress _ Sung Hyun-ah ("Woman is the Future of Man", "The Scarlet Letter") _ a tight 40-day shooting schedule and cello music that sooner puts scare-seekers to sleep than on the edge of their seats.

In "Cello", however, automobiles are scary. Hong Mee-joo's (Sung) frightening driving is a major plot device.

Sung's apparent insistence not to play second fiddle to a possessed string instrument was a mistake, but it is not what made "Cello" a less effective horror flick than"Wig". "Sacry Hair" Perhaps it is not spoiling the ending to say that unlike the haunted hair-piece, the cello never flies and no one gets skewered by a bow.

But Sung's acting is far too prevalent throughout the movie, which made some scenes far short of their scary potential. So much so, that she at times seemed to be competing with the cello for the camera's attention.

Lee had previous worked on music videos, dramas, for example "Ghost - 1999" starring Jang Dong-gun, and films, for example "Natural City".

But there were some redeeming parts. The grinning wicked devil-face that is superimposed, a genuinely creative horror film technique. It could have been better exploited for more creepy moments.

The movie, with the help of those loud blasts of "gotchya" music, managed to deliver two shockers. One involves the BMW Joo-mi drives and the other an incident in an underground parking garage.

Stars: Sung Hyun-ah, Park Da-an, Jung Ho-bin

Director: Lee Woo-cheol

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