Part-time prof Hong Mi-Ju (Hyeon-a Seong) is being harassed by a student who got a bad grade from her and has subsequently had to drop out of the music college, to the extent that she's even slashing Mi-ju's tyres. However, strange things are starting to happen to Mi-ju persistently: all kinds of seemingly supernatural goings-on are continually disturbing and distressing her. Whilst doing a bit of shopping, Yoon-ji, Mi-ju's older daughter who has learning disabilities, unexpectedly demands that her mother buy her a cello - and that's a key which unlocks a whole lot of bad karma from Mi-ju's past, as well as some new weirdness in the form of a strange and entirely spooky housekeeper, who is just as mute as Mi-ju's daughter and has her own tragic and gothic history.

More weird things happen when Mi-ju complains to her husband that she doesn't like the housekeeper, such as a bedtime visitation by Kayako *cough* I mean, an unnamed mysterious female spirit. Kyung-ran, Mi-ju's sister-in-law, gets a bit of bad luck by losing her fiance, who tells her it's all over between them, sparking Kyung-ran's disintegration into the Bette Davis character from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, replete with maniacal laughing and bawling and smeared makeup, embarrassingly enough. However, something strange happens when she gets a silent phone call she takes to be from her ex, and then winds up dead under mysterious circumstances, having seen the same nameless long-haired female ghost figure that has been plaguing Mi-ju.

It also transpires that threatening phone calls from what Mi-ju took to be the stalking student were never actually made: there are no records of any such call. All the bad events currently taking place seem to be pivot around someone called Kim Tae-Yeon, a person who Mi-ju flatly refuses to talk about. What terrible event in Mi-ju's repressed past could have caused what is self-evidently an unquiet spirit to come back and wreak havoc... and why is Yoon-jin acting so strangely in conjunction with her new-found love of playing the cello?

In the final reckoning, Cello is without a doubt one of the weakest of the recent spate of K-horrors riding on the coat-tails of A Tale of Two Sisters. It xeroxes the entire plot construct of that movie, which is outright and frankly pretty outrageous theft. Goddamnit, even the trailer namechecks both Tale of Two Sisters and The Others as its predecessors! That feels to me a bit like getting burgled and the robber leaving a business card behind on the mantelpiece. Even the infamously derivative Ryeong, pretty poor in its own right, was still infinitely more likeable than this disjointed crap-o-rama. Another sad waste of potential down to a whole collection of horrifically hackneyed aspects, but sadly, seemingly indicative of the current state of the Korean horror scene. In short: Korean horror moviemakers, get a fresh idea please, because this has now been totally done to death and your welcome is starting to wear very thin.








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Directed by Lee Woo-cheol
Produced by Yun Hyo-seok
Kim Sang-chan
Jang Yong-seok
Written by Jeong Woo-cheol
Starring Seong Hyeon-ah
Park Da-an
Jeong Ho-bin
Wang Bit Na
Jeong Yoo-mi
Music by Lee Han-na
Distributed by Tube Entertainment
Release date(s) August 18, 2005
Running time 94 min.
Language Korean






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