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Wishing Stairs (KOREA 2003)

Director : Jae-yeon Yun
Cast : Ji-hyo Song, Han-byeol Park, An Jo, Ji-Yeon Park and Su-a Hong

A staircase leading to the dormitory of a remote boarding school usually has 28 stairs, but every so often there appears to be 29. When someone steps on the mysterious extra stair, the horror begins.

by Edward Tang

This is the second Korean horror flick I’ve seen in a row (Acacia was the first) and I must say that they should concentrate on something else. This film is supposedly the third in a trilogy of “Ghost films”, after seeing this it seems that I probably won’t be visiting the other two films.

You’d basically have “Wishing Stairs”, a film that struggles to make it out of the pack as something original and interesting. It’s got every typical cliche: weird people who go insane for no reason, moments that jump out and are suppose to make you jump as well (unsuccessful), and of course a plot that could have been written by a twelve year old who just happened to realize that “Hey, my parents do hate me.” I can’t see how anybody would enjoy this film because it doesn’t do anything that warrants half an emotion. THROUGHOUT this entire film, I was waiting for something to happen, just something that would at least keep my interest, sadly it never came and was probably getting high at the mini-mall over on Reseda. 

The story is like any horror story, it finds a happy situation and puts a twist on it as to effect the main characters and people around them. The location is an all girl’s school (I didn’t see any dudes, so I’ll assume this). Then we are introduced to the wishing stairs, which are simply stairs you climb and you wish for something when you reach the top. I should have noticed the crappy plot, but I didn’t and got sucked another made-for-money flicks that have nothing true to offer. Anyways, the story continues where this girl wants to become a champion ballet dancer, so she goes up the stairs and wishes for this. Obviously there has to be a horror element, so what happens is that her friend gets hurt, so she takes the reigns and becomes the champion or whatever. Her friend dies in some way, and this triggers another psycho chick who has been abusing the stairs for her own use (losing weight and whatever) and has some crush on the dead girl. So we go into typical mode, people go crazy and we have a bunch of overacting and crying until we reach the end, and everybody stands up and prays to God that the crap has been flushed. 

Okay, now the story might sound okay but the way it was shot made it seem long and uneventful. This one aspect hurts me the most, waiting for something to happen. This is the point of a horror film! MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN, but when they tried to attempt this simple task, it was basically something that has been overused or just plain annoying. But then again, this film really didn’t seem like a horror film because two-thirds of the film didn’t focus on this, only until we get to the final few minutes is this film did we see a concoctions of crazy images and a little bit of gore. It wasn’t a horror film, it was kind of a side story on how high school sucks and it takes a toll on the human spirit to not be able to fit in. But that aspect was not looked upon, rather they tried to scare the audience with worthless tactics and most of all scenes that look like they were directly stolen from other films. Anybody who has seen a good amount of horror flicks ever see when water turns into blood? Yeah you have and if you’ve been picking up Tartan’s fall release, you’ve seen enough of it. 

From the story we got into the neighborhood of typical crap. Typical Crap has a population of morons, from obsessive people who can’t fit into society toward people who are just scary to be scary. These characters aren’t anything special, they sit there and react to surroundings, we don’t care about them or they can’t warrant us to even care if they get stabbed to death or whatever. There’s an outcast girl, you know she is going to cause trouble, she’s a fat chick who gets picked on and so forth. You’ll see it coming that she’s going to stab the bully and see her smile and spout stupid phrases that only fictional crazy people would have the balls to say. If you can’t see what I’m saying, it’s simple: These characters aren’t unique or special, they are just a bunch of typical cliches who are just made to move the crappy plot along. And what’s with this image focus on these Korean horror flicks? I saw Acacia (crap) the other day and the focus was on a tree, this time it’s stairs. Literally, I think writers just look out their windows and proclaim, “I’ll write a half-assed screenplay about that!” 

The acting isn’t actually half bad. There were some good performances for the most part, everyone except the fat chick who just hammed (and ate the ham) it up for the screen. But aside from her shittiness, the cast acted well. Maybe that’s not saying much for a horror film but I don’t know what else to say. There are some good moments between the main characters that showcase some talent in the fact that they can read their lines and be convincing at the same time. But this film is the last one that this type of acting should be tried with because you could basically speak with no tongue and fit into the typical mold of the horror character: ATTRACTIVE WOMAN WHO RUNS AWAY WHEN THINGS GET SCARY!. Alas, I think that someone should get all of these filmmakers together and just watch some of the good ol’ classics and just blatantly steal from them. Why not? I’d prefer a copy of another film to one that tries to be itself while in the process of taking from other films. At least the former is honest about the theft of the obvious situations and bloody showers. 

So what in store for Asian horror? Is the fad done? There have been too many horror films that are just typical of the genre that are obviously rented for the fact that people want entertainment but this gets thrown to the ground because nobody has stepped up to pull out a good horror film. South Korea is probably the place to go for the kickass cinema these days but they still can’t improve on where the horror film is going, right down the f*cking drain. I respect Tartan Videos, because they’ve been releasing great copies of Korean flicks for the past few years added with some great special features, but why should they continue to pick up these waste of time films? If you chose money, you can sit back down because that’s the only positive of I could see out of this. The horror films still remain to be typical and worthless but we will continue to shell out the dollars to see them.

Well when it comes down to it, Wishing Stairs is just another film that should not have been made because it has nothing to offer to the movie fan. It’s a ripoff and just never gets anywhere special that could prove it to be unique in it’s respective genre. Okay, basically I’d avoid it unless you can’t live without crappy horror films that just continue to spew the same worthless images and bad overacting until the viewer is just annoyed in the process. Hopefully one day, someone will realize that these films suck and will make something that can cure my hatred for this genre. Until that happens, avoid this and check something else out that can at least give you a good time.

Plot : 2/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 1/5
Overall : 2/5

Notable Scenes
- Nothing that you can’t see in any other generic horror film

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Wishing Stairs

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