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31 Days of Horror: WHISPERING CORRIDORS 3: WISHING STAIRS

Wishing Stairs is the third installment in the Whispering Corridors, a series that is, for the most part, unrelated to one another but with a plot that typically revolves around Korean high-school girls being hunted by a various cabal of paranormal horrors. It’s a film that doesn’t do much to push the envelope of Korean horror, in fact it pretty much looks and feels like a typical film of the genre.

Story

Whispering Stairs is a narrative centered around two high-school best-friends and possible romantic couple Yun Jin-seong and Kim Sohee whose relationship is put to the test when an upcoming ballet competition sets the two at odds with each other. The paranormal aspect comes in with a mystical set of stairs near the campus that was supposedly able to grant your wish if you believed hard enough to create a 29th step on the otherwise 28-stepped staircase.

I don’t want to get into details here, but one of them inevitably makes the decision to wish victory on the day of the competition and, in true backfiring-wish fashion, something awful happens, people feel bad, but the responsible party seemingly wins in the end. Seemingly…

There’s another factor to this story that I intentionally left out, an awkward teenage girl often ridiculed for her weight and her penguin-like gait, a girl by the name of Eom Hye-ju. Just prior to this horrible incident, Hye-ju develops a sort of infatuation with one of these two friends, an infatuation that would inevitably lead to some crazy wild shenanigans that would ultimately coalesce in to ‘the plot’ of this Korean flick.

Gore & Scares

As someone who isn’t familiar with the subtle niceties of Korean film-making, I found Wishing Stairs to be a rather lukewarm introduction to the genre of Asian horror. Certainly no The Ring or The Grudge that American media took up and arbitrarily changed for the sake of cultural appropriation, but what this film lacks in high-budget cinema effects and cult appeal it sort-of makes up for in its genuinely frightening scenes (well, genuinely frightening to me, a man-child so timid that his own roommate moving in the darkness freaks him out).

It might just be that I’m not used to waiting for my horror pay-off–as a consumer of typical American slasher flicks like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, it might just be that I’m accustomed to the ‘instant gratification’ model that belies the compelling narrative in favor of blood and gore all over the place–but Wishing Stairs doesn’t show any real tense moments until 45 minutes into the film and by then I was bogged down by all the exposition and dialogue that had come before it.

It didn’t really help the film that those 45 minutes were a bit on the mac-and-cheesy side of writing with some rather bad acting decisions made here and there throughout to top it all off like an extra heaping topping of sour milk to add to this already distasteful mix…

Overall

Despite there being a few genuinely scary moments, cheesy dialogue and bad acting take away from a film that would have been an otherwise cautionary tale on human wish-fulfillment gone awry. Perhaps I just don’t have the cultural mindset to truly appreciate this film but, whatever the case, it did not inspire me to want to explore the wide world of Korean horror films.

3 out of 5 stars

3 out of 5 stars

Cover Image: Another Castle; Source: DownShop.net

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Categories: Korean Films

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2 Comments on “31 Days of Horror: WHISPERING CORRIDORS 3: WISHING STAIRS”

  1. 10/31/2014 at 3:22 PM #

    The second one was way better. Overall, the whole series is quite enjoyable to watch, although it’s mainly due to the interesting setting, not necessarily the scares, which are in shortage.

  2. 02/19/2015 at 5:27 PM #

    Reblogged this on Rice Cakes.

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