April 30, 2008

Arang: The High-falutin' Physics of Fear

Will science rescue horror or destroy it? Ahn Sang-hoon's Arang (2006) supports both sides of the argument. Anti-modern mystics will insist that the explaining of how the murders "actually" happened just makes the bloodshot-eyed ghost feel superfluous. Fact freaks will argue that the problem with Arang is that the ghost never should have been there to begin with. Who's right? Would this atmospheric (i.e., intermittently boring) movie have fared better if it had left the spirit of the raped teenage girl at the grave and built up some crazy theory involving the incriminating properties of NaCl? (That's salt for you ignoramuses.) Or is Arang's one chance at being effectively creepy to strip it of logic and to have a vengeful poltergeist wreaking havoc with a causality limited to "I'm angry; hence, I kill." Neither bias would've saved the film in the end. Too much of Arang is too familiar: the tinkly piano music that means childhood innocence-turned-evil, the long, tangled black hair of the bogeywoman who if she was played by the same actress in all these Asian fright flicks would be richer than Croesus (and by this point would demand a new 'do). Does blonde hair have no scares? Where are the bald succubi?

No comments:

Post a Comment