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"The Wig" - "The Wig" Weaves a Good Horror Tale

2005/08/11 Source

By Philip Dorsey Iglauer
Contributing Writer

The movie pamphlets, posters and TV commercials for "Kabal (The Wig)" - "The Wig" do not do this psychological shock-horror movie justice.

Although there are underlying sexual politics at work in Director Won Shin-yun feature film debut, they did not warrant billing the film as just a common variety summer sex tease. Won hardly got his money's worth from the people marketing "The Wig".

Someone should have told the promotion team that shock-horror also sells, and "The Wig" delivers with several good scares. Though the deeper psychological elements were weakly executed by the novice director, he can be excused considering he had but one demonic wig to work with.

That demonic wig is not just scary-looking, it moves, too _ even flies. Some of the movie's more startling moments derive from the animated hairpiece leaping out at our moody leading ladies. At least four good shockers, perhaps more depending on how you count them, come about on account of the willful wig.

The long dark coiffure goes from spooky, to haunting to, finally, murderous.

The wig is a gift that Chi-hyon (Yoo Sun), who later has her vocal chords ripped from her in a car accident, gives to her younger sister Su-Hyon (Chae Min-seo), who loses her hair after cancer treatment. Sibling rivalry develops as little sis' gets an attitude from wearing the possessed hairpiece.

The sisters then compete for the attention of Chi-hyon's useless boyfriend. Their poltergeist-inspired love triangle is dimensionally complicated by the introduction of a transvestite love interest in a flashback near the end of the film. Was the boyfriend actually gay all along? Likely not.

The wig is possessed, made from the hair of a jealous and sexually hungry woman, the audience is only belatedly informed, that is why the wig revitalizes her cancer-ridden body, and takes over her mind.

Won first received artistic recognition for his grand prize-winning film short "Bread and Milk".

The movie should do better than expected. Despite the anemic air-conditioning at a theater in downtown Seoul on a sultry evening, the teenagers in the audience laughed and screamed with the characters on the screen, giving the impression that the film may overcome its bad marketing.

Chae, from the self-congratulatory "Champion", is also in Sakamoto Junji's all-star fantasy blockbuster "Aegis", now playing in Japan. And Yu, from "The Uninvited" (2003), another good spook flick, shows how one can defeat evil with a 35-millimeter camera.

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