Review: Ghost in Love (1998)

Directed by:
Cast: ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

This rather sweet Korean flick shows the effect of the Korean government’s decision to stimulate their film industry by pouring money into it (and setting quotas, and whatever else). It’s polished, entertaining, intriguing, has some nice CGI effects, and is generally a professional piece of work.

The story is simple: a “suicide squad” of ghosts (because suicides can’t go to heaven) recruits new members into a sort of post-existential pyramid scheme of retribution. We follow the main character, a girl deceived by her fiance, as she is pushed into suicide, and share her confusion as she meets the gang and is introduced to the system. This thin plot allows for a meandering course through themes of justice, forgiveness, and revenge: our girl is pushed and pulled by others, and it’s easy to empathise with her desire for revenge, as well as her squeamishness and reluctance to “go all the way” and top the guy as she is (virtually) ordered.

In spite of the simple storyline, interest is maintained throughout, probably because of the characters. Each character gets their time in the sun, and so we’re treated to little vignettes that give us insight into the situation of each ghost. Pale Face, a girl who killed herself after being gang-raped in front of her boyfriend, is surprisingly lucid and friendly, and I got quite a kick out of the way she frocked up in white negligee, with long hair and full gothic makeup for “work” and cruised around in a power suit the rest of the time.Similarly, the first character that we see, pre-suicide, is a fat girl who comes to be called Diet, who dons the power suit for working hours (she’s a Team Leader) and gets about in a tracksuit for casuals. Then there’s the water ghost who pops up (quite literally) now and again, wibbling around and making his wet presence felt.

One aspect that stood out for me was the confounding of stereotypes: time and again, I’d think I had a character safely pigeonholed, and then they’d do something that contradicted my expectations. Not the hero, of course: he was a hero first, last and always. Good guys are always good, whatever happens, right? But most of the others seemed to wriggle around within the confines of their character definitions to do things that surprised me. And that’s always good: there’s nothing more tedious than watching a movie when you know exactly what’s going to happen.

If I had to categorise it, I’d put it in the “chick flick” box, because of the sweet undertone and the moral dilemmas, but then again it contains elements of drama, romance, action, and CGI fantasy. It manages to be all of these and none, but there’s one certainty: it’s a damned entertaining film.

7.5 water ghosts out of 10.
Bookmark the permalink.