From The Host to Old Boy, South Korea has a rich history of producing great films. Unfortunately, White: The Melody Of The Curse isn't one of them. That's not to say the K-Pop themed horror movie isn't worth a look. I didn't know what to expect when Jacques from The Prophet Blog invited me over to watch the T-ara star vehicle but I guessed it would be something of a trainwreck. And I was right. Before getting on with the review, it's only fair to admit that I was completely baked when I sat down to enjoy this future Razzie winner. So some of the ensuing confusion could well have something to do with my impaired mental state rather than the bogus sub-titles and non-sensical plot twists. But I doubt it. Chances are White: The Melody Of The Curse is destined for bargain bins across Asia but if you think of it as the Korean Glitter, only with cursed wigs and haunted demo tracks, it suddenly becomes an essential addition to your DVD collection!
One of the great things about this exquisite work of art is the fact that it lifts the lid on the shady world of K-Pop. We're introduced to stunning Eun-Joo (Eunjeong from popular real-life girlband T-ara), who is part of a struggling band called Pink Dolls. They are total flops and get heckled every time they hit the stage. Think of them as the Korean Young Divas. Anyway, poor Eun-Joo also doubles as the band whore and thanks to her "sponsor", the girls get a second chance at success when he lets them stay his new studio. Instead of being grateful, the other members make fun of our plucky heroine for being an old slut who started out as a backing dancer. I feel that this is a highly accurate depiction of the K-Pop scene. All that false humility doesn't fool me for a second! But I digress. Eun-Joo stumbles across a demo called "White" in the studio and the band's manager decides that it's perfect for their next single. Cut to the Dolls taking the nation by storm. The scene (below) where they perform the song is so amazing you might just start crying and shaking uncontrollably. I love how they drive the dismissive crowd into a complete frenzy with their breathtaking choreography. T-ara could never!
Until this point I was riveted to my seat but when the directors (Kim Gok and Kim Sun) started introducing horror elements, the film descended into Z-Grade madness. It turns out that "White" is haunted. The girl who originally sang it died in a fire and she is intent on snatching wigs from beyond the grave. I love a gory death scene but the set pieces in White: The Melody Of The Curse are incredibly lame. One of the Dolls suffers heat exhaustion from hitting high notes in the studio (I wish I was making this up) and another becomes possessed and dances until she collapses. My favourite was the girl with the bleeding eyes who maintained that she was too pretty not to be in the middle. Diva! Instead of quitting while they're behind, the Pink Dolls obviously read the Sugababes' handbook for knifing your friends in the back and continue as a trio, then a duo and finally as a solo act.
It's only fair that Eun-Joo is the last member standing and she is convinced the curse is over after fucking her "sponsor" to discover the truth behind "White". I still don't understand the weak explanation but by this point I had been suspending my disbelief for so long, it didn't really matter. Unfortunately, Eun-Joo lets fame go to her head and fails to heed the warning signs - like talking mirrors, unexplained fires and ghost hands playing with her wig. That's what you get for not investing in a House of Dereon lacefront! I'm not going to give away the grand finale but the producers of The Ring should sue. There's even an amazing last minute twist that makes absolutely no sense. White: The Melody Of The Curse runs for a good 30 minutes longer than necessary and looses a lot of steam in the second half but cult classic status beckons. Watch the amazingly deceptive preview below.