by Adam McCabe
"You know what I'm sure we all can't get enough of? The South Korean pop scene" ... said the creepy, hairy man in the back of his van while he juggled organizing his candy collection and reading bad anime fan-fiction. Wait, there's good anime fan-fiction? I digress.
I've been wanting to write this piece for a while, but I had no idea how I could fit its relevance in anywhere. So fuck it: I'm going to tell you about the freakiest little diamond in the rough on Netflix. It's called White: The Melody Of The Curse and it totally blindsided me. Originally released in 2011 by Kim Gok and Kim Sun, White is a devilish little ghost story centered around the rising success of a once pitiful Korean pop band, The Pink Dolls. If you don't know about this scene, it's like American Idol on some weird Korean crack, sprinkled festively with scantily-clad teenage girls. One hit single can make or break any of the tons (and tons) of groups saturating this musical market, and things aren't looking good for our talented little ladies. That is, until they discover and adopt an old song recorded years ago that immediately springs them to the top of the charts. The catch (because there's always a catch): the song is haunted. That's right, White is a movie propelled by the gimmick of a haunted song.
In any other case, as you probably are now, I would be rolling my eyes and switching to something a little more digestible. But this being a Korean horror film (as is the case with most films from that part of the world), it takes its subject matter so seriously that it somehow ends up working. Not only working, but delivering some of the most original, piss-your-pants sequences I've had the pleasure of witnessing in a modern horror film.
You see, the ghost terrorizing the pink dolls is the jealous type: the ghost of a pop singer who never quite got the spotlight she felt she deserved. So she doesn't just try and kill these budding starlets, she helps them viciously turn against each other. Watching these teens go crazy and tear each other apart gives you the kind of knife-twisting giddy pleasure that you would get watching a film like Battle Royale. What starts as an awkward peek into a team of struggling pop icons quickly snowballs into a brilliant fright-fest that continuously one-ups itself. It's relentless, creative and unpredictable. I loved every minute of it and came back for seconds.
If you have absolutely nothing to do for an evening and feel like taking the opinion of an alternative horror journalist, White: The Melody Of The Curse really threw me for a loop. If you can keep an open mind to the strangeness of the Korean pop scene long enough, I guarantee you'll find something to scare the pants off of you when the ball gets rolling. I warn you though: you may not be able to get the main theme out of your head for a few weeks. It's haunting.
Now close my van door; you're letting in a draft.