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The Whispering

Opening Date
26 Jul 2018
PG13 Horror
91 mins
Korean - subtitles to be advised
Choi Sang-hoon
So Joo-yeon, Kim Min-kyu
One wrong turn and a group of teens were led to an abandoned amusement park. A colourful but yet eerie haunted house caught their eyes. Ignoring all signs of warning, the students decided to explore the premise. It was then they started to hear a whisper and began to disappear one by one…
By Jason Lin  26 Jul 2018
Technical production values are adequate with crisp sounds of bone-crunching and eerie lighting within the enclosed ghost house.
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Sending teenagers into haunted theme parks is not the most original premise, and many would soon realise that Choi Sang-hoon’s horror feature The Whispering does not bring much novelty to the genre.
Setting an urban tale behind a deserted amusement park situated in a rural location in South Korea, it is said that the amusement park premises served as a portal for spirits and its owner exploited it to gain business. While the background story of the amusement park merely served as the platform for supernatural activities to ensue, Choi does attempt to instill a sense of ghoulish atmosphere through the teenagers’ time in the amusement park.
Eun-ha (So Joo-yeon) finds herself haunted by a departed close friend as it resulted in her poor performance for her college examinations. Min-woo (Kim Min-kyu) and a group of 3 other friends decide to unwind after examinations by going on a road trip. By scripted coincidence, Eun-ha finds herself on said trip and it is also not hard to guess that technology fails (updated GPS firmware got them lost) and left them stranded at the amusement park.
Through quick-cut edits and loud sound levels, scares are mostly blatant and designed as ad-hoc frights. Scares take place throughout the enclosed ghost house where the teenagers find themselves navigating their way in but never out. Many of the scare designs might come across as confusing, especially when they do not appear to have apparent linkages to the narrative.
The overarching storyline is fairly thin and linear, which might disappoint seasoned viewers who are looking out for deeper deliverables. The characters however, do help to anchor some attention through their onscreen personalities and interactions. Besides Eun-ha and her side-story on her (departed) close friend, there isn’t any in-depth character development for the rest of the film’s teenagers.
Technical production values are adequate with crisp sounds of bone-crunching and eerie lighting within the enclosed ghost house. The “whispers” by spirits could use better sound design to induce the aural sense of surround. There are some set design efforts with a mechanised coffin pulley system and a dollhouse where Eun-ha experienced her first (and possibly most horrifying) scare episode involving a mother and her daughter.
The ending might be deemed too abstract to allow too many possibilities open for wild imaginations to run. The Whispering is not the amusement park for most people to visit this summer holidays – be it for excitement or horror.
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