You really can’t drag me to a scary movie.
But on the other hand, I can’t stop my eyeballs from watching one romantic comedy after the other.
So when I heard that the Korean flick, Spellbound contained both genres, I was intrigued. After all, a scary movie with romance in it can’t be that scary, can it? After all, how can mixing ghouls and spirits, blood and blood-pounding music with flowers and cute fashion, funny one-liners and sweet kisses leave me with nightmares? It can’t, right?
Spellbound was able to give me both.
Everyone knows Asian ghosts are the scariest and this movie did not downplay on the jeepers creepers. Nor did it forget about the pretty romantic leads with lovelorn eyes. Nor did it fail to deliver some laugh out louders and physical comedic pratfalls.
Written and directed by Hwang In-ho, the movie tells the tale of a lonely ingenue Yu-ri (Son Ye-jin) who lives a spinster-like existence due to her cursed ability to see ghosts. Yu-ri meets Jo-gu (Lee Min-ki), a sprightly street magician who, inspired by Yu-ri haunted presence, conjures up a successful magic show and hires Yu-ri to work for him. The two become entangled but will Jo-gu be brave enough to stick with Yu-ri — even if it means getting freaked out everyday for the rest of his life?
I won’t spoil the ending for you but let’s just say, I laughed, I cried, and I closed half my eyes through the entire movie. It helped that actress Son Ye-jin is a class-act, being able to cast a spell with her round, ever-flickering eyes and even the slightest twitch of her lips. She makes every punchline all the more amusing to hear, every tender moment all the more heartwarming, and all the scarier moments all the less terrible.
I also enjoyed how universal the story felt (err, as universal as a story about two people falling in love despite being haunted by ghosts can be). Do I smell an American remake? (Although frankly, I’m not a big fan of western remakes of Asian films. Some of the cuteness goes away a la My Sassy Girl)
The US release dates for Spellbound are as follows:
*Pending locations. Check website for updates.