Sunday, June 22, 2014

To Catch a Virgin Ghost (live action movie), via Netflix

To Catch a Virgin Ghost is a Korean horror-comedy. For those who are nervous about watching horror movies: it's really not that scary. A few creepy moments, and that's it. There was only one scene I couldn't bring myself to watch, in which a character inadvertently pounded a nail into someone's forehead. But that's me, the horror wimp.

This movie started off boring and mediocre, then became a bit like watching a train wreck, and then morphed into something that was actually pretty decent and included several surprises.

At the beginning, we see Seok-tae, who has betrayed Yang-e, a fellow gangster, and run off which a baggie of diamonds. He gets into an accident and ends up at a tiny village where everyone lives in a single large house. While there, he accidentally conks his head and is presumed dead. Except he's not. Seok-tae goes through a lot during the course of this movie. Anyway, the villagers find one of the diamonds inside his nose. They decide to keep it, sell it, and share the money.

Unfortunately, first they have to survive Yang-e and his thugs. Yang-e tracks Seok-tae's phone to the village and knows he's probably there, but the villagers refuse to talk. Yang-e doesn't have a lot of time – if he doesn't get the diamonds back in three days, his boss will kill him. He's not inclined to be nice. However, the villagers aren't the only thing he has to deal with. He keeps spotting a freaky long-haired girl who may be a vengeful virgin ghost.

Like I said, this movie didn't quite work for me at first. Initially, I could sympathize with the villagers' desire to keep the diamond they found on Seok-tae's body. That one diamond represented more money than they'd seen in a long time, maybe ever. However, when Seok-tae regained consciousness and the villagers decided to continue going through with their plan, no matter what they had to do, I was horrified. I found it difficult to believe that they didn't feel a twinge of remorse, regret, or even worry. Yang-e and his men were scary, but I couldn't help but think that the villagers deserved to be scared – they were at least as bad as the gangsters.

I thought this was going to be a black comedy in which Yang-e tried to scare the truth out of the villagers before eventually being run off by the virgin ghost. I can't say much without spoiling things, but that's definitely not how it all went. The twists later in the movie were pretty good, even though I was never able to completely buy into the “gangster with a heart of gold” bit.

All in all, I wouldn't call this a great movie, but it was better than I expected and turned out to be an okay way to spend the time. I laughed when the big, tough gangsters tried to scare off the virgin ghost by running around naked (one man remembered hearing that virgin ghosts are afraid of men's "things"), and the ending was kind of sweet.

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