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Memento Mori
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Memento Mori

“The first kiss, like the smell of apples, on your lips ive felt the blood that touches my tongue”


It’s been a while since I reviewed anything live-action, so considering how much I loved this film that I saw a few days ago, I felt it was time to cast my incredibly biased eye over it!

Memento Mori is the second in a series of what presently is four films which are linked by the fact they all take place in Korean schools. While the film is billed as a horror film, Memento Mori falls more into the category of a romantic tragedy with lots of drama and angst, the supernatural elements being overshadowed by these.


On arrival at her all girls’ school one morning, Min-ah finds a rather strange diary on the wall. The elaborate diary which has been made with impressive detail and artwork turns out to belong to two girls at her school, Shi-eun and Hyo-shin who until a month ago were involved in a relationship together. Min-ah begins to flick through the diary, exploring the rather complex personalities of both girls and starting to get sucked in to their rather odd world as she reads. Things take an alarming twist however, when on the very day Min-ah finds the diary Hyo-shin apparently commits suicide when jumping from the school roof. At first, there seems to not really be a reason for this especially as she and Shi-eun had appeared to be getting closer again for the first half of the day. Using the diary, the strange bond she seems to be developing with Shi-eun and the bizarre supernatural events that begin to occur at the school, Min-ah obsessively begins to piece together the events that led up to Hyo-shin’s death.




Much of Memento Mori is told through flashes back to the past. As Min-ah reads the diary the film jumps back into the past showing Shi-eun and Hyo-shin’s everyday life together. The film goes very deep into the pairs lives and personalities and the various events in their lives leading up to the point some pages are ripped out, presumably when they broke up. Some of these flashbacks are moving, some dramatic, but all are most certainly over the top. One of the things that makes Memento Mori a good film is it is easy to empathise with the two and feel sorry for them both in the unfolding blend of drama, romance and pain between them.

The three lead characters carry the film well with their different personalities. Min-ah makes a good lead, as her obsession and perseverance in discovering about the two takes her away from her friends and into their world instead. Hyo-shin is perhaps the most complex of the characters, sometimes very forward, domineering and even aggressive but at the same time surrounded by a veil of insecurity. Shi-eun is certainly the most angsty of the cast, seemingly never quite sure how she feels or what she wants changing her mind from one moment to the next. Hyo-shin and Shi-eun’s turbulent personalities are what is mostly to blame for everything that goes wrong for them and its very saddening to see. They go from having close romantic moments, to both being gripped by paranoia and then back again; it is a schizophrenic relationship, and one that seems doomed to have tragic consequences from the moment the negative aspects of their personalities appear.

The supernatural aspect of the show is an odd one. While the supernatural parts (which revolve around Hyo-shin’s ghost seemingly having fun tormenting those who caused problems for her love-life) are rather unnecessary to the overall plot they do work fairly well. Severed heads in lockers, dead birds in toilets, poltergeist activity.. and other happy things occur throughout and while none of them are overly gory, things are certainly rather creepy. The bizarre supernatural atmosphere is partially down to the almost free hand camera that is used in the film… providing bizarre and non-intrusive camera angles as if someone is watching events from a distance. There are also moments when the camera is done almost in infra-red as if the ghost itself is watching events.



As for film faults? In my totally biased way I can say I don’t think there are any. A more concrete ending to explain things “may” have been better but ambiguous endings is something I expect from most films I have watched lately. Overall, I loved every second of the film, the drama, the romance, the angst and the horror and loved the over the top dialogue! I have no choice but to award it *gasp*


10/10

posted by Mangaminx On Saturday, December 10, 2005  
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