The opening sequence of "Scary House" consists of a mannequin being put together while spooky music plays. By spooky music, I mean the kind of music an older sibling might sing trying to frighten a younger sibling with ghost stories. It sounds completely ridiculous, and not actually scary at all to anyone over the age of ten. "Scary House" is less a horror movie in its own right so much as it is a minimalist parody of what a horror movie is supposed to look like.
The basics are all here. There's the manneqins, there's the long haired ghost, and there's the sexy woman at home alone for the entire runtime titillating the audience by performing mundane actions while singing and talking to herself. Goo Yoon-hee wows and excites the viewer by engaging in such risque material as preparing food. Cleaning the floor. Taking a nap. Walking into another room. Goo Yoon-hee requires several minutes to finish every random task, as we watch in loving admiration.
...In case you couldn't detect the sarcasm, Goo Yoon-hee isn't actually all that sexy. Well, she might be if I was thirty years older. Is there a fetish out there for watching fully-clothed women in their late fifties do household chores? Well, probably, but I don't think that's what director Yang Byeong-gan was going for here. No, his goal was probably much more simple- to take this one absurd joke to its extreme.
What is the joke exactly? I'm not sure actually. Maybe it's the music, or the emptiness of the house, or just the sheer absurdity of watching Goo Yoon-hee do chores all the time. Whatever's going on here, every five or ten minutes I couldn't stop myself from bursting out laughing. "Scary House" is honest to goodness a film where we watch an older woman do chores and wander around for excess of an hour with ghost appearances spliced into the editing at random.
Seriously, every scene I just kept asking myself whether the ghost is coming back, only to realize that no, she is not. It's just time for another chore. But maybe this time the ghost really is going to be in the scene? Nope, not this time either. And so and so forth. The sheer banality of "Scary House" is such that I would look in the background and go, ah-ha, a shadow, that means something will happen soon! ...Wait no, that's just Goo Yoon-hee's shadow.
The entire design of "Scary House" is just so blatantly ludicrous. It's not even really scary- I somewhat suspect that director Yang Byeong-gan didn't even seriously try to make the movie scary because that's too hard and besides, everyone knows that long-haired girls are scary, that's good enough right. I can't decide whether Yang Byeong-han is very bad at making movies or whether he's a consummate genius who's figured out how to make genuine camp films in an era where horror films are practially contractually obligated to pretend like they have deep philosophical messages. All I know is, I really enjoyed "Scary House".
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "Scary House""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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