White: The Melody of the Curse (2011)

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Monday, April 7, 2014

White: The Melody of the Curse (2011)

White: The Melody of the Curse is a 2011 South Korean horror film by Kim Gok and Kim Sun.  The soundtrack contains 3 versions of the song "White," the original (the one featured on the in-movie VHS tape), another sung by PinkDolls (Ham Eun-jeong, May Doni Kim, Choi Ah-ra and Jin Se-yeon), and a solo version with just Eun-jeong.

White: The Melody of the Curse (2011)

  • Original Title: Hwa-i-teu: Jeo-woo-eui Mel-lo-di
  • Genre: Horror – Music – Mystery
  • Directed:
    • Gok Kim 
    • Sun Kim
  • Produced:
    • Doo-young Choi 
    • Katharine Kim
  • Written:
    • Gok Kim 
    • Sun Kim
  • Starring: Eun-jeong Ham, Woo-seul-hye Hwang, Maydoni, Choi Ah-ra, Jin Se-Yeon, Jeong-su Byeon, Young-min Kim, Gi-Bang Kim, Jun-Ho Lee
  • Music: S. Tiger
  • Cinematography: Sang-jin Kwon
  • Editing: Hyo-rim Kwon
  • Studio: Doo Entertainment
  • Distributed: CJ Entertainment
  • Rated: NR
  • Release Date:
    • 9 June 2011 (South Korea) 
    • 17 September 2011 (Japan)
  • Running Time: 106 minutes
  • Country: South Korea
  • Language: Korean

The film opens with a girl group called "Pink Dolls" about to perform in a televised competition.  Their act flops and they lose to the more mainstream girl group, Pure (played by South Korean girl group After School).  They move into a new studio where they hope to practice and record their next hit, and finally make it to the top.  There is tension and rivalry between the four members of "Pink Dolls" - Je-ni, a singer insecure with hitting high notes, A-rang, a singer addicted to cosmetic surgery, Shin-ji, who can't sing, but is an excellent dancer, and Eun-ju, the eldest and former backup dancer who despite being the oldest, is constantly bullied by the younger three.

Eun-ju discovers a tape in the studio entitled "White" which turns out to be an old unreleased music video that her manager thinks might have the right moves and addictive tune to pave the way for the group's success.  Since the rights to the song are unknown, the copyright issues are sidelined and their manager gives the okay for them to begin deconstructing the video for their next performance.  They perform "White" on stage, becoming an overnight sensation and with the rise in popularity, the girls find themselves becoming resentful of each other and ruled by their desire for the chance to be promoted as the lead singer or "main" (who will now be singled out by wearing a white wig and costume).

First to fall victim to the curse is Je-ni, who, after recording for the lead but still failing to hit the high notes, is mysteriously hung in the studio recording booth after overdosing on her medicine.  Next, A-rang becomes the lead but starts reacting to her makeup which causes her eyes to swell and turn red.  She suspects Shin-ji tampered with her cosmetics so she could be the lead.  In turn A-rang posted pictures of Shin-ji on the internet decreasing her popularity and insuring that A-rang held on to her spot as lead.  After a terrifying experience in the make up room, A-rang is being prepared for the "White" music video with a camera strapped around her waist.  Meanwhile, Shin-ji argues with their manager and storms off, refusing to sing because she was denied the lead part for a second time.  When recording starts, A-Rang feels something claw at her eyes, causing her to fall off the stage. She is taken to the same hospital as Je-ni and the doctors inform the others that due to a negative reaction to the cosmetic surgery done to modify her face she will be unable to perform.

Eun-ju suspects a connection to the lead's bad luck and "White" so she asks her sister Soon-ye to dig up anything she can related to the song's original singer and the studio before she becomes the 'main'.  Shin-ji becomes more arrogant and practices her dancing constantly due in part to her resentfulness for originally forming 'Pure' after 8 years of hard work then being replaced by a group of newcomers by the studio.

Soon-ye tells Eun-ju that the singer from the video was an ultra competitive girl named Jang Ye-bin who died in a studio fire 15 years ago and was blamed for the suicide of a back-up dancer.  The video was never released because something went wrong with the recording and it was scheduled for a re-shoot that was never done because of the fire.  They review the tape and see that the singer's face is scarred on both cheeks.  They come to the conclusion that Jang Ye-bin wrote the song white and out of jealousy the other girls damaged her face so she couldn't have the lead position.  At the same time Shin-ji is practicing and encounters the ghost.  Still terrified, she participates in a reality show where she has to exit a dark building and pass obstacles to escape.  She sees the ghost again in the building and exits but is surrounded by crazed fans who block her path.  As she tries to get past, her hair is caught in a high rise camera that proceeds to swing her above the crowd until its counter weights fall out and crash to the ground, with Shin-ji being crushed under it.  Eun-ju is reluctant to be the lead until she can find a way to lift whatever curse was on the song.

She talks with the sponsor and returns to the studio where she gets flashes of a girl dying in that room.  She smashes a power cord set under a concealed spot in the floor and the remains of a suicide note are found.  She proclaims that Jang Ye-bin started the fire to kill herself, believing her career over due to her scarred face.

Now confident that the curse has been lifted, Eun-ju starts a solo career using "White"'s popularity.  She undergoes a total transformation, bleaching her hair, answering to White as her name, denying ever being a back up, and taking credit for writing the song and choreography.  When her former group wake in the hospital, they see Eun-ju on the television as a full blown celebrity and about to compete against "Pure" for the #1 song.  They don't believe the story about the curse, instead suggesting she poisoned them to gain popularity and visited the sponsor to make sure she got to remain the lead.  Soon-ye is visibly upset at Eun-ju's new selfishness and begins to rid herself of the "White" recordings until she hears something new on the original track.  When she goes back to the studio she discovers it isn't Ye-bin singing.

"White" was originally written by the young bullied back-up dancer whose face was disfigured by Jang Ye-bin and the rest of the dancers with acid for "standing out" - Ye-bin taunts the girl by saying "Have fun being the main now, see how far you go with a face like that!"  The girl committed suicide by drinking bleach, and now returns to haunt and kill whoever sings "her" song, beginning with getting revenge on Ye-bin (the ghost caused the fire - originally a small fire that Ye-bin started to destroy the girl's suicide note - to go out of control and burn her to death).  Soon-ye had discovered that Jang Ye-bin was not the author of the song, but the first victim of the curse.

Soon-ye calls Eun-ju to warn her but is hung up on.  Je-ni, A-rang and Shin-ji (who could only get a small gig co-hosting a tacky song and dance show) experience hot flashes like they did right before their 'accidents' and commit suicide on air by drinking bleach (after being seemingly possessed by the ghost), and Eun-ju (after winning the competition) is assaulted by the ghost while performing "White" onstage, causing a blackout and the stage lights to explode, panicking the crowd.  Her "sponsor", Mr. Choi, dies when he's crushed by a falling light while trying to escape and her manager is killed when she steps on stage to help and a stage flare burns her to death. Soon-ye arrives and tries to get to the stage but as Eun-ju jumps into the crowd to reach her, she trips, resulting in her being trampled to death.  The film concludes with Soon-ye at the karaoke bar, disposing of Eun-ju's album, the trainee's suicide note and the original video tape by placing them in a trash can and setting it on fire.  She believes she has finally defeated the curse, but then looks up in horror as the karaoke machine announces "Song chosen: White", implying that the curse has not been broken and she too will die (she had performed vocal doubling for the song earlier, due to Je-ni's being too insecure to properly hit the high notes).

White: The Melody of the Curse (2011)


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