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Wishing Stairs (SK Live Action)
Thursday, March 09, 2006
"There's a legend which claims that if you count aloud 28 steps to the school dormitory, a 29th stair appears and a spirit will grant you a wish."


Ah I'm feeling in the mood for one of my rare live action posts. As you can tell by the blurb above (taken from the DVD case) Wishing Stairs (or Yeogo Goedam 3 if you prefer) is a story of magical stairs that grant a wish! What the blurb doesn't tell you is it is also yet another example (see Memento Mori, the second film in this series) of the rampant obsessive lesbianism that seems to be going around South Korean High Schools.

So-Hie is in love with her best friend Ji-Seong, but Ji-Seong doesn't really seem to put up with her friends feelings more just tolerate her. Meanwhile another girl Hye-Ju who is overweight and teased for because of is obsessively in love with So-Hie and worships her from afar as she is the only person who is kind to her. Perhaps in an attempt to make herself more attractive to So-Hie, Hye-Ju believing the legend of the Wishing Stairs decides to make a wish to lose weight. Amazingly she does, slimming down in a matter of days. Meanwhile rivalry is sparking between friends as Ji-Seong becomes jealous of So-Hie as they participate in a ballet competition. Ji-Seong's obsession to beat her friend becomes sinister as she takes steps to sabotage her, eventually using the Wishing Stairs to wish that she will win the competition. Soon after So-Hie "falls" downstairs (after confronting Ji-Seong about why she was being so cold to her) can't compete in the ballet, and commits suicide in hospital. Of course the Yeogo Goedam series teaches that lesbians who kill themselves come back to life! So we all know she will be back, and indeed she does return from the grave when the lovestruck Hye-Ju wishes her back. While Hye-Ju has visions of So-Hie falling for her, So-Hie has something else on her mind. Revenge.


Wishing Stairs, like Memento Mori is really more a drama centering around same-sex attraction than a straight up horror movie that it attempts to be at times. Unlike Memento Mori here all the relationships are pretty creepy and one sided, so we don't get any incredibly long kiss scenes. Even in her "vengeful specter of death" mode, So-Hie is totally obsessed with Ji-Seong, merely using the hapless Hye-Ju's crush on her to help her do what she wishes to do. There is a theory that the real ghost of So-Hie doesn't make her appearance till the final reels of the film and Hye-Ju is merely nuts "acting" possessed. I certainly wouldn't put it past Hye-Ju, who collects spooky dolls (always a sure sign of insanity I'm sure you'll agree) but I'm fairly sure she is possessed or it kinda spoils the idea of the stairs causing bad things if she is merely insane.

While Wishing Stairs does have horror moments they really aren't that scary. The only bit that made me feel mildly freaked was a maggot ridden corpse of one of So-Hie's victims and that in itself was more because of the "ewwwww" factor than anything else (it really was gross). Im sorry, but blood coming out of showers, psychotic knife attacks and "I'm a Sadako impersonator" ghost bits don't really cut it. But as long as your watching the film as a drama than a horror like I was then it isn't much of a problem.


Soooo, it's a lesbian fueled, Korean high-school horror about magical steps, psychotic girls and obsession? Is it any good? Well, while the general consensus seems to be that this is the weakest of the four films in the series (the fourth, Voice I have yet to review) I actually really enjoyed it. The drama and genuinely interesting characters (So-Hie in particular is great) made up for the rather crap horror aspect and while not toppling Memento Mori it was certainly better than Whispering Corridors. It has the obligatory twist at the end that as is usual in Korean horror is fairly obvious but something you don't give much thought to until it actually happens.

While it's certainly a film that can be openly criticized the fact is I love movies like this, as I love a great many Asian horror series, so if you do too you should see it asap! And if this series is anything to go buy be thankful that you probably will never be in a South Korean school where I've learnt something tragic and bloody is bound to happen!

8/10


posted by Mangaminx On Thursday, March 09, 2006  
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