May 29, 2019

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum: Terror Tourism

The six young fools in Jeong Beom-sik's Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum have decided to explore a cursed and abandoned psychiatric hospital that landed on CNN's Seven Freakiest Places in the World. On their way to the bloodcurdling Room 402, they check out the Director's Office, the Lab, the Shower Room, and the Bathing Room, and the Storage Room where they find such ominous relics as a photo of former inmates, some loose syringe needles, a creepy clown doll, a dead chicken, and a discarded wig. The graffiti too sends a clear message... Get out! Yet none of them pay attention to the signs until too late. Instead, harnessed up with two-way cameras that allow YouTube viewers (a.k.a. us, the audience) to see what they're seeing as well as their reaction shots. The goal? To get to one million viewers. The cost? Oh, maybe their lives.

But just how scary does it get? Is someone playing a trick on someone? Are there vengeful ghosts that have to do with war crimes or mental illness? Is all the footage coming from the participants and the cameras with motion sensors that one of the crew stalled earlier that day? How much does the guy at the control panel in the tent on the hill really know about what's going on? After all, HQ is having issues all its own and that pair of dirty underwear someone tied to a branch doesn't turn out to be then helpful landmark everyone though it would be.

We never get to the truth behind all the mysterious happenings and while we see the YouTube viewership climb well beyond 900 thousand, we never see it hit the goal. Not that it matters — it being this movie and the reality show that it contains.