Absolute AnimeAbsolute Anime

Experience the wonder of Japanese Animation!
Warning: Unmarked Spoilers Lie Within These Pages!

Movie Review: Whispering Corridors (2002)


I was never really a fan of high school, and I assume most high school students feel the same way. But overseas, in places like Korea and Japan, high school is more than just annoying and mildly stressful. They have extreme pressure to perform their best and get into prestigious colleges. Sometimes teachers will even pit their students against each other in a type of survival-of-the-fittest contest. And this happens to be the backdrop for the new Tartan Asia Extreme release, Whispering Corridors.

During the day, Jookran High School seems like any other normal high school, but when night creeps in...well, the building still seems like any normal high school, just darker. But it's not, as this school is, according to rumor, actually home to a ghost. Of course the film reveals early on that this is no rumor. A ghost definitely resides within these grounds, and I'm not talking the friendly kind either.

Our first introduction to this ghost comes near the beginning of the film. It's dark, and a teacher named Mrs Park (nicknamed "Old Fox" by her students) is alone in the building. It seems as if she knows something is about to happen, as she phones Hur Eun-young, a former student of hers who now also works at the school, and tells her something that doesn't make any sense (unless you already know you're in a ghost movie). She tells Eun-young that Jin-ju is definitely dead, but is still here, and has been here the whole time. And then the ghost kills her, and hangs her corpse up outside on an overpass where everyone can see.

The next morning, three students discover the body, the two new class monitors Youn Jae-yi and Lim Ji-oh who were there early to clean their classroom before school started, and Kim Jung-sook who was there just because. It is assumed to be a suicide, and the students are then given a stern lecture about keeping this quite. But of course we're all familiar with high school, and how well students are about keeping things quite.

So the rumors start, such as that Old Fox was killed by the ghost of a former student, Jin-Au, who died before graduation, supposedly from a suicide. Some think that she possess Kim Jung-sook, although I'm not sure why other than she's one of the unpopular students that keeps to herself. Others think the could have possessed Lim Ji-Oh, an aspiring young artist who just couldn't help but express through painting what she had seen that morning. And when another teacher, nicknamed Mad Dog, finds what she did, he not only destroys the artwork in front of the entire class, but also beats Lim Ji-Oh right then and there.

Okay, so after that scene, we all know whose going to be the next to die. But at any rate, I won't go through and explain the whole movie, I'll just say that it stays pretty good all the way to the end, which, by the way, has a really nice bleeding walls effect that was done in real-time, not with computer graphics like a lot of movies would have. The story has some mystery and horror to it, but to me it didn't really feel like that was the main point here. The relationships between various character, both student and teacher, are what I tended to focus on more than trying to figure out what was going to happen before they revealed it.

The friendships and rivalries of the students were nicely played out, but it was the way they showed how the students were treated by the teachers that really made me appreciate how good my high school experience actually was. I found myself thinking "wow, do they really do that?". If they tried some of that stuff here, there would be lawsuits galore. But naturally that also makes it easier to believe a tortured ghost would come back for revenge!

The casting and acting were both well done, as was the overall atmosphere. The camera angles, the lighting, and the audio all made the school feel both normal and eerie at the right times, and helped add to what the actors were bringing to the film. When it comes down to it, this movie is a nicely done piece of work, and you should try to find some time to check it out if you can.

Whispering Corridors is being released in the US on February 22 by Tartan Asia Extreme. It is directed by Park Ki-hyung.

Visitor Comments

Additional Content