Chilling Romance

Chilling Romance

aka 오싹한 연애 aka Ossakhan Yeonae aka Spellbound

2011
Written and directed by Hwang In-ho
Chilling Romance
Seeing dead people is not just a job for kids who will grow up to have DUIs, but also women in Korea! Yeo-ri has isolated herself from her family and her life because she’s tormented by continual visits from the recently deceased, especially the visits of a particular ghost, her former best friend, Joo-hee. Joo-hee blames Yeo-ri for her death, and constantly harasses Yeo-ri’s family and friends have forced the drastic measures. But can such a woman find love? Because Chilling Romance isn’t just a horror film, it’s a romantic comedy! Yes, two genres that shouldn’t go together at all suddenly pull a peanut butter and chocolate moment for Chilling Romance.
Chilling Romance
The ghosts aspects are a mishmash of Sixth Sense and the long-hair ghost films. Some of the Sixth Sense imagery is copied directly, from the dead wanting help to the tent scene. The tone of the scenes are stark and depressing, a lot of quiet standing around and pointing, or looking at people in pain or sorrow. But when Joo-hee is around, the tone changes to more shock jumpcuts, almost as if the movie knew it had to become something different for the different type of ghosts…

To counter all of that, we got a bunch of magician things going on. The razzle dazzle of the spectacle is a complete contrast to the morose Yeo-ri. Jo-goo makes his living from being charismatic and a showman, the opposite of the quiet and reserved Yeo-ri, who doesn’t want to attract attention from people who will end up ultimately hurt. Jo-goo originally wants her to join his troupe because he finds her interesting, but as they spend more time together their chemistry grows, much to the annoyance of the ghost Joo-hee and Jo-goo’s girlfriend.
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance was also released as Spellbound. Director Hwang In-ho wrote the script, and this is his first feature film.

Kang Yeo-ri (Son Ye-jin) – miserable looking girl She almost died during a school trip where her best friend did die, and ever since has been visited by ghosts, especially Lee Joo-hee’s ghost. Because of Lee Joo-hee’s anger, she avoids all human contact to protect them from her. Yeo-ri now spends her life with a different outlook, knowing how easily life can slip away and a general sense of dread, but is terribly depressed and not a stranger to the bottle. She sleeps in a tent.
Ma Jo-goo (Lee Min-ki) – a street magician who gets inspired by seeing the miserable Yeo-ri and develops a horror magic act that makes him a super star. Having hired Yeo-ri into the troop, his efforts to get to know her better turn into unexpected chemistry and learning of her true secret.
Lee Joo-hee (Hwang Seung-eon) – Ghost. Best friend of Yeo-ri who died in an accident when Yeo-ri barely lived. Her ghost has been following Yeo-ri ever since. Filled with anger over the incident.
Min-jung (Kim Hyun-sook) – Yeo-ri’s best friend, but one she only contacts via phone and hasn’t seen in years.
Yoo-Jin (Lee Mi-do) – Min-jung’s friend that she brings into the phone conversations with Yeo-ri to help with her love life. Yoo-Jin wrote Bitches – the romantic comedy about three bitches. She also explains the 5 types of kisses: hamburger, sliding, air cleaning, candy, and wrestling.

Chilling Romance

Chilling Romance
Street magician Ma Jo-goo is pulling out all the tricks when he notices Kang Yeo-ri, a girl who doesn’t smile or even change her dismal expression. Fascinated, he follows and she becomes his inspiration for a horror magic show that sweeps Korea by storm. Yeo-ri is hired into the act, though she never hangs out with any of the other performers and always runs off home after shows. Jo-goo tries to get her out of her shell, and forces her to go to an all night drinking outing…and Yeo-ri really packs away the alcohol.

Creepy things happen around Yeo-ri. Her only friend Min-jung is someone she communicates solely by phone. Min-jung adds in her own friend to the calls, a romance author named Yoo-Jin who is a refined romance expert and is either bathing or just in or out of the tub during every one of the phone conversations. The conversations range from light-hearted to deep introspection of just how much pain Yeo-ri’s life is causing her.

The main conflict is the vengeful ghost Joo-hee, ever-watching Yeo-ri and messing with her life. We see it’s a mix of revenge and jealousy. Jo-goo runs right into the problems of a ghost-spotting girlfriend. To his credit, he seems to take everything in stride, from a mysterious ghost kid that follows him to his home to Joo-hee appearing at night above his bed trying to spook him away.
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance is a romantic horror film, not really a romantic comedy, though there are some funny moments. The tone is unlike a lot of romance, the change is a good change because it doesn’t bungle the difference, it uses it to help with the mood and advance the story

There is a bit of meta-commentary on the horror films, particularly an ongoing discussion about how the female horror leads can’t fall in love, because then their screams won’t be desperate enough. Chilling Romance is aware of its influences, but also aware of where it is going. Sections feel like they’re lifted from conversations about the film instead of the film itself.

The big problem is a problem. At times, the solution seems to be just to run away. But running away doesn’t solve problems, and it won’t solve the issues facing both their lives. Even the end, things seem to have softened a bit, but the danger will always be there.
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance

Rated 7/10 (chosen, ghost bow, necklace, the choice, painting power, wall art, the girlfriend)


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Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance
Chilling Romance

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Written by Tars Tarkas

Tars Tarkas

Runs this joint!