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[HanCinema's Film Review] "0.0MHz"

2019/06/15 | 1055 views | Permalink

So-hee (played by Jung Eun-ji) is a young woman working as a barista who's trying her best to avoid thinking about her shamanistic background. Alas, cute shy boy Sang-yeop (played by Lee Sung-yeol) manages to talk her into going on a location shoot at a rundown yet legendary location for malicious spiritual possession. Bad things can be safely predicted whenever the local frequency goes down to "0.0MHz" although it takes some time for our plucky band of five to figure this out.

The main interesting factor at play in "0.0MHz" is how the supernatural monster the characters run afoul is not all powerful and functionally invulnerable. So-hee, because of her shamanistic background, knows exactly how to properly nullify the creature's powers and exorcise it as necessary. The problem is that, first, So-hee lacks real world experience and easily rattled. The next is that, of course, most of the team doesn't actually believe in ghosts, although we soon see that Sang-yeop does kind of believe in ghosts, just not in a helpful way.

This leads up to a climax wherein So-hee confronts the monster using traditional shamanistic techniques- a surprisingly effective sequence because of how deliberately clinical it is. The main tension there is the ambiguity about whether So-hee really knows what she is doing. Is an interruption a good thing or a bad thing? Much like the earlier more stereotypical fake out, it's hard to tell because a good horror movie actress, much like a good shaman, has to play the part both literally and figuratively.

In that vein I rather liked Yoon-jeong (played by Choi Yoon-young), who functions as the group's cool, hot older sister. Any expectations that Yoon-jeong is going to be punished for her sluttiness in classic horror movie form are brilliantly turned on their head in a suitably creepy hospital scene. All of the dialog heavy scenes involving the ghost are great examples of how the spirit weaponizes human emotion rather than really manipulating it.

While "0.0MHz" features a lot of great ideas like this by the end I still couldn't help but feel like the sum was less than the parts. The epilogue accidentally underscores this by deliberately contrasting the So-hee of the end with the So-hee of the beginning, and making her brighter and perkier. Like, why? I can get her being more friendly, but So-hee's entire gloomy disposition is justified, rather than denied, by her experience with malicious spirits.

Besides that the goofy low quality BGM of the end shows how moments of definite class notwithstanding "0.0MHz" is a cheaply made movie with an often underwhelming poltergeist and well worn scares. I felt like "0.0MHz" would have been more interesting and, ironically enough, more scary if the movie had been more about So-hee (and everyone else's) character journey and less about rote adherence to standard horror movie tropes. Certainly the last minute plot twist at minimum was pointless and in context not even terribly logical.

Written by William Schwartz

 

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"0.0MHz" is directed by Yoo Seon-dong, and features Jung Eun-ji, Lee Sung-yeol, Choi Yoon-young, Shin Joo-hwan, Jung Won-chang, Park Myung-shin. Release date in Korea: 2019/05/29.

 

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