June 8, 2014

To Catch a Virgin Ghost: Diamonds Are a Ghost's Best Friend

I've seen great horror movies that aren't necessarily scary (Thirst, The Soul Guardians, Terror Taxi). I've seen plenty of comedies I enjoyed that didn't necessarily have me laughing out loud and were probably more strange than funny (The Story of Mr. Sorry, The Good, the Bad, the Weird, Couples). I've even seen crime pics with overcomplicated plots that I forgave in the end. (Girl Scout, Tazza: High Rollers). And then there's To Catch a Virgin Ghost, Shin Jeong-won's triple-genre-hybrid that failed to provide the minimal atmospherics of middling horror, the occasional chuckle of mediocre comedy or the temporary tension of an uneven thriller. Talk about a dud in triplicate. No screams, no laughs, no gasps. You almost wish the creators had thrown in sports, biopic, musical, mockumentary, scifi and western, just to see them fail at those genres too.

I'm not sure what the primary genre was supposed to be either. Is the important part of the story have to do with the stolen diamonds that are swallowed by two of the hoodlums or the romance that unexpectedly blooms between one gang-leader (Lim Chang-jung) and a lovely, insecure young spirit (Shin Yi) whose beauty is only marred by her creepy white eyes. The latter tale in particular has a lot of novel possibilities in terms of where it could go but To Catch a Virgin Ghost is written by screenwriters with Attention Deficit Disorder. They never stick to any storyline for long, meaning that chase scene are interrupted, conflicts never build and the final resolution has more loose ends that a fringe tablecloth.

The inability to settle on a plot, a conflict or a genre has ironically extended to the title as well. In America, the movie has been released under the titles Sisily 2km and To Kill a Virgin Ghost as well. Might I suggest an alternative? To Romance a Virgin Ghost When You're Smuggling Diamonds Near an Orphanage Where Everyone's Been Murdered. Or simply Dead Girl, Kooky Crimes. It took me a full week to watch this movie in its entirety because I would grow so impatient at each viewing. Maybe someone can make a better version of it by turning it into a seven-second montage for Vine. I am currently available to pen a Twitter script of 140 characters or less, hashtags included. All I require for payment is the return of the 109 minutes spent watching this movie.

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