Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
A young car crash survivor without a voice brings her dying sister home for her final week, buying her a beautiful black wig to help her hide the ravages of cancer. But the wig has a spirit of its own, and soon starts to take over the body of one sister, and the lives of both, culminating in a bloody showdown of possession, revenge and wronged love. The moral of this tale...hair is scary?
Is it good movie?
Really, I just don't get it. No matter how much I soak up, no matter how many Asian horror flicks I watch, I can't for the unlife of me understand their fear of hair. Wet black hair. Granted, it is a little creepy, and a lot of Asian directors have found innovative and creative ways to shoot hair. I just don't find it scary. Not one bit. So to come across a movie whose sole horrific device is a bloody wig (pun intended), well, I lost interest really fast. Talk about being let down by a wicked DVD cover! Aside from one grisly scene (pills being pushed out from inside the girl's scalp...nice!) and some pretty and atmospheric shots, this movie was seriously dull, uninspired and slow.
How slow? Imagine watching a 100-yard dash with legless runners. Most of the film is made up of very long wide shots, infuriatingly drawn out establishing shots, and lingering object shots that make you start to think the cinematographer fell asleep and the editor just missed it. Seriously I haven't seen editing this sloppy in a long time. It may be because of the crap editing, and the fact that too many scenes took way too long to get somewhere, that the flick had no sense of narrative cohesion whatsoever. The story was so disjointed, introducing stock characters as if they were central to the story, and vice versa, and failing to qualify any of the on screen action, that it was hard to follow even the basic storyline, let alone tell who was who. The first person that can explain to me what this boring and trite bitch was about will forever be crowned King of the Annoyingly Incomprehensible. The story had promise, and this could have been a bloody and horrific festival of destruction if handled with talent and with a tighter script. Instead we get some possession subplot about a tranny and an artist, and a cursed wig that destroys lives. Right.
On the gore side, some of the effects are well done, and the blood comes on thick in some scenes. However, most of it is so stylized and artsy that it comes off as animation rather than a part of the movie. And some of the situations, while bloody and violent, lose their impact when surrounded by the bulk of what is a terrible story. And to think they could have used this movie to make hair scary, huh? This could have been a chance to scare the shit out of us with something we, as horror fans, don't really understand. And while there are some deliciously grisly scenes, they alone do not make a movie worth watching. As far as Korean horror flicks go, your money would be better spent elsewhere. The gore showed promise, and the acting was okay, but the script and the awful edit job wrecked what could have been a tight and tense movie. Shame, really.
Video / Audio
Video: 16:9 Widescreen - This moody and hairy flick looks good on DVD. Too bad the story doesn't compare with the visuals.
Audio: Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1) with English subtitles.
This disc from Genius Entertainment has a fairly bare bones feel, with only three featurettes for those who like the movie enough to watch them. There is a Making Of Featurette, a nifty and slightly entertaining Special Effects Featurette, and a redundant Behind the Scenes Featurette, which pretty much reiterates what was covered in the first bit. Seriously, they should have combined these three, and thrown in some more features. The awesome and gory menus had me looking for more body to this one, but really, unless you like the actual movie then the features are nothing special.
While sporting some creepy bits, some intense performances and some killer visuals, The Wig just falls apart storywise and, while making the most of its premise, fails to conjur up any real sense of horror or dread. As well, the whole Asian Art School aesthetic gets old really quickly, with some single shots taking so long to finish that you'll be screaming at the screen (and the editor) in no time. This is not the quick, jumpy horror of U.S. manufacture. In fact, it's not even the slick and kinetic editing of Miike or the Pang Brothers. What this is is an art house flick, based on an incomprehensible cultural fear, that goes nowhere at such a crawl that you'll be taking power snoozes just to make it through. Unless you find hair particularly scary, I'd say this is one to skip.