WHITE: MELODY OF DEATH
White is another variant on Ring. Where Ring has the spirit of a dead girl emerging out of a tv broadcast, White has the spirit of a dead girl emerging out of a pop song and audio tapes. In both films, the dead girls spirit reaches out of the past and into the present, infecting everyone it touches with its evil.
White holds interest initially. It offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse into the way that a K-pop (a phenomenon largely unknown to Western audiences) girl group is constructed, stage managed in every detail, and the intense rivalry and catty bitcheries that go on between the girls in the group in one amusing touch, the other girls regard Eunjung Hwang as over the hill because she is older than twenty. The Kim brothers direct the scenes of the group performing with a good deal of visual dazzle and the film shows an acute insight into the pressures and cynical business of the way such a phenomenon works.
Far less interesting is when White tries to work as a ghost story. It is a competent copy of the basics of Ring, no more, no less. The Kim brothers produce some average shocks. There is the odd moment the image of Jin Seyeon hanging in the recording booth, her voice caught in the loop of a shrieking gasp, or of Maydoni being attacked by a series of reflections in a mirror but nothing that particularly stands out. The twist explanation that connects everything together can easily be seen coming in advance.
(Screening at the Vancouver International Film Festival)