Is “Whispering Corridors” the “movie that started the Asian Horror Explosion”? That’s what’s bee said! This Korean film, made in 1998, just before the huge Asian horror explosion into the US, is a speudo-1970’s slasher flick that reminds me truly of “Black Christmas” and “Prom Night”; you have good old-fashioned fun with teenagers being hacked to death. But, since it’s Asian, it has a method to the madness and never unfolds in a cheesy (or basically retarded) way. “Whispering Corridors” is a film about the horrors of school: from a female point of view.
Korean schoolgirls, dressed in somber apparel, sitting in bleak, cold classrooms, being taught by bitter, evil teachers, have enough trouble as it is. Add into the mix how cruel children can be to one another (Girl Children, that is) and you have a veritable nightmare in and of itself. On top of it, they threw in some actual murders and a ghost!
The idea of friendship and betrayal is what really moves “Whispering Corridors” along on such a passionate path. The main characters, all female except for a male teacher who attempts both physical abuse and sexual harassment towards his students, all experience the pressure of choosing friends and making enemies in high school. With a mysterious death that sparks an immediate hush-hush among the faculty, “Whispering Corridors” begins just as eerily and magically as it remains throughout the entire story. With one student’s death 13 years ago, and a new one in the beginning of the film, one psychic student is particularly able to sense that something is wrong. A vindictive spirit and a cruel faculty play tug of war with the lives of the students, neither side willing to give in to forgiveness and peace. School, it seems, can be a terrifying experience for both students and teachers.
Ghosts in Asian cinema act differently than ghosts in American horror; they act through tingles and touches, gentle sneaks, and small sounds, but are nonetheless always vivid, tangible, and deadly to the living in a way American ghosts never are…”Whispering Corridors” has no Computer Generated imagery. All of the special effects are a result f effort and time, like Takashi Shimizu’s original Japanese version of “The Grudge”. Obviously a result of a somewhat lower budget, “Whispering Corridors nevertheless is a remarkable good story and very touching film. It will also scare the crap out of you. I, for one, have always found school creepy, and female evils always frighten me more than male mental patients roaming the dark hallways searching for naked teenagers to slice up. The Evil Force in “Whispering Corridors” is merely taking revenge upon those who have wronged her. She chooses her victims carefully, and only punishes those for whom she has a personal vendetta. There is also a very clever mystery to be solved. Buried secrets and evil-minded teachers are forced to face their misdeeds and compel students to question just how important having the “right” friends is when compared to things like love, friendship, and trust.
“Whispering Corridors” will not disappoint, especially if you go into it with an open mind and a love of Asian horror. It’s certainly got enough of a storyline, death, and fear for any serious fan of the genre, while managing to be completely original.