Mi-ju, played by the beautiful Sung Hyun-Ah, is a brilliant cellist who craves peace and stability after surviving a car crash, which killed her best friend. Haunted by terrifying memories of the accident, she decides to forgo a professional career in music, in favor of teaching college students and her daughter how to play. Unfortunately, things begin to go terribly wrong. One of her students attacks her, her sister in-law becomes dangerously obsessed with her fiancée, and the new housekeeper is scaring her to death. Further, there is something very ominous and portentous about the music coming out of her daughters cello.
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Mi-Ju is a part-time music professor with a tragic past. When she was younger, she was an up-and-coming cellist, until she was in a car accident with her rival/best friend, Tae-yeon. After Tae-yeon died, Mi-Ju gave up playing the cello and decided just to teach. One day, one of her students threatens her after receiving a bad grade and so begins Mi-Ju's problems. She is sent a mysterious cassette tape that contains a haunting cello duet that dredges up some painful memories of Tae-yeon and almost causes her to get into a car accident. She is distant from her loving family which includes her two daughters, husband and sister-in-law. Her older daughter is mentally disabled and mute, but falls in love with a cello she spies in a window. Mi-Ju buys it for her and begins to teach her how to play it. Meanwhile, a new maid moves into the house. She is creepy as hell and is also mute. It seems as though her family was killed in a car crash and she tried to commit suicide numerous times, once by swallowing acid. No more vocal cords there! Anyways, things start to get creepy slowly but surely...the family's golden lab, Sunny, begins barking all the time until one morning he is found dead.Read more ›
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If you get impatient with some of the Asian horror conventions (an insistence on cheesy effects when CGI would be better, unresolved major plot elements) then this might be more your speed. The body count is as high, and as bloodily graphic, as a Hollywood horror flick, and while there are weaknesses in the story--I'm still not sure what the housekeeper was doing there--the ending isn't a baffling existential statement. It's not as nuanced as a movie like A Tale of Two Sisters, but it doesn't require cliff notes to understand, either.
For me the film itself lacks the suspense and horror that I really look forward too in this genre. Having written this, I will write that "Cello" is better than many films that have been released in recent years from Korea--yet that is not saying much, as so many are so similar. Yes, they are much better than most of the horror films here in the States, but one keeps hoping that they will make a breakout with some really captivating and scary films that will capture the world with the same unique quality that their dramas, and suspense films have been able to do. Moreover, the talent in both the acting, and the directing is definitely there. Yet, by continuing to churn out the same formulaic horror films at a rapid rate, they are going to suffer the same fate that American horror films now find themselves in: Stale and turgid.
"Cello" is not that bad of a film. If anything it is watchable. I would just like something a little bit more than "well it was worth a watch." Anyway, the films narrative is more like a drama, with very little to non-existent horror. The film centers around a woman named Hong Mi-ju (Hyeon-a Seong) who is a former Cello player. Due to a tragic car accident, she injures her hand---and as a result, she gives up playing the Cello, and instead becomes a music instructor. [One more thing I would like to add, the Korean horror/suspense genre has pretty much played out the classical music in their films, however, the sound of the cello is beautiful]. Further, there is something that still haunts Mi-ju in regards to her past: For it was in this car accident that her good friend and cello rival Tae-yeon Kim (Da-an Park) was also killed.
Trying to forget this terrible incident and get on with her life, she finds herself saddled with a difficult student who is upset with the grade she has been given. Given a cassette tape from an unknown source, her past begins to haunt her again. Is Mi-ju being haunted by the spirit of her dead rival? And what about the student? How does she fit in? But there is more to the narrative. With a new servant in the house who is mute, and a daughter who begins learning how to play the cello, the film veers into more of a dramatic suspense film with the various characters that are introduced into the film. The film does drag a bit, and plays out more like a drama. And if you have seen Korean horror or thriller films you will notice there is nothing really new here. Once again, this is not a bad film, but it is not a good film either. Somewhere in between. I recommend that viewers rent the film first. It may not appeal to many viewers. [Stars: 2.5]
Okay..Okay.. so its the same old revenge story by freaky black haired chick. I know.
But lets take a look at what this movie offers.
First off, no holds barred, original and graphic kills.
I mean come on..when was the last time a whole family got killed off.
Beautiful set pieces and air of unrelenting menace surround this flick.
This ghost is out for revenge..not just the come through the TV and poop scare ya to death kind. I'm talking about the whole enchalada. The last time I've seen a ghost this pissed off it was..hell I can't remember the last time I saw a ghost that pissed off.
A nice twist of events..and no I'm not talking about the ending.
I mean the part where we really see who was to blame for all of the mayhem.
So genre fans..not just Japanese Horror Genre Fans either..rejoice. Here is a ghost story to wrap your bed sheet around.
Okay, none of my reviews would be complete without a little negativity.
At times, the movie did feel as if it were a little been there..done that.Especially with the ghost being so Ringuish like. The final scene was not as explorative or explained as it should have been. I mean, give us a break..we just sat through 2 or more hours of watching this womens family get killed off in hellish ways and now it ends on a made for TV movie instant replay.
Do not let these qualms stop you from watching this movie.It is
a non stop spooky ride and one you will be glad that you got off sane and sound when its over.
Just a hint..If your daughter all of a sudden grows real attached to a Cello..Ship that sucker to Bangkok. The Cello, I mean not your daughter.
Overall I enjoyed watching it and was pleased that I rented it.
Cello isn't a bad little film. It's not one of the best Asian horror flicks I've ever seen, but it's far from the worst; there is, however, not terribly much to make it stand out from the pack. That said, it reminded me in many, many ways of Twisted, an execrable Jay Lowi film (if you haven't seen it, don't waste your time), except that Cello was everything Twisted couldn't figure out how to be--atmospheric, suspenseful, mysterious. Which leads to a dilemma: rate the film in comparison to other Asian films (in which case it's mediocre), or in comparison to the closest thing we have to it in America (in which case it's brilliant)? Eh, well, I'll decide that eventually.
After a car accident that kills her best friend and causes her a hand injury, Mi-jou (Woman Is the Future of Man's Hyeon-a Seong), a promising young cellist, becomes a professor at a nearby school. Some years later, married and with a family, seemingly unrelated events set Mi-jou down the path of remembering the circumstances (which she's blocked from her mind) surrounding the accident: her autistic daughter wants to learn to play the cello, a student at school to whom she gave a bad grade vows revenge, she receives a rare album for her birthday, a handful more. As she gets closer to the truth of the accident, she begins to question her own sanity.
It's not a terribly original plot, and it's not handled in any terribly original way. Still, that doesn't mean it's not worth a couple of hours of your time. The soundtrack (which is, of course, mostly cello) is wonderful, the acting is above average, and if the ending doesn't come as a terrible shock, it's probably because you've seen Twisted. You have my condolences. ***
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