WHISPERING CORRIDORS 3- WISHING STAIRS. 2003. TARTAN ASIA EXTREME. DIRECTED BY YOON JAE-YEON. SCREENPLAY BY KIM SOO-AH AND LEE YONG-YEON. STARRING SONG JI-HYO, PARK HAN-BYEOL AND JO AN. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©
This Korean supernatural horror film is certainly based around an interesting concept, but unfortunately it’s a long way from being the best in its genre that I’ve seen. The titular ‘wishing stairs’ belong to a girls’ boarding school, and rumour has it that sometimes there are twenty-nine of them instead of twenty-eight. Steps, that is. What’s the big deal about that…? You might well ask.
If you are lucky enough to find yourself standing on the twenty-ninth step, you can make a wish, a supernatural wind will blow and your wish will be granted. Hmmm. Well, you can see why that would be kind of a big deal.
The film, by the way, is the third in a series all set in girls’ schools, but each instalment is more or less stand-alone. When I watch the other two movies, I’ll keep you posted as to what I thought of ’em. Yeah yeah, I know. Be still, your beating heart…!
Wishing their little hearts out in this film are three schoolgirls in particular. The school, by the way once more, seems to concentrate on ballet and the arts, which made me jealous as hell. In my school, we had to do stinky maths and science, subjects which girls should be allowed to be exempt from if they so choose. Well, I’m sorry for not being more of a feminist but some of us are just no good at them. Me, I was always the creative type.
Anyway, Hae-ju is- how shall we put this?- a tubby ginger-haired girl who asks the wishing stairs to make her, shall we say, a little less porcine. No-one in the school seems to notice that she’s gone from looking like Miss Piggy to looking slightly less like Miss Piggy overnight. She’s still a weird, oddball loner type of teen, though, with fellow student So-hee being the only girl who shows her any sort of kindness.
So-hee has more on her plate than just Hae-ju, though. She and her best friend Jin-sung are competing against each other for the same extremely prestigious part in a ballet. Jin-sung, fed-up with her pal’s show-offish behaviour, asks the wishing stairs to let her win the competition. I won’t tell you if the stairs grant Jin-sung’s wish or not, but let’s just say that a tragedy occurs in the school and a devastated Hae-ju makes a second wish, one with far-reaching consequences for the mopey Jin-sung…
Firstly, I don’t know that it’s fair of the wishing stairs to allow someone to have a second wish. I mean, that’s just greedy, isn’t it? Like wishing for three wishes instead of one, haha. Secondly, I don’t know what to say about the supernatural element of the film because, to be honest, there wasn’t much of it and what there was of it was frequently inexplicable and not very scary.
I hate having to say that about a horror film, especially one in the genre of Asian horror which I love, but I did say at the start that it wasn’t the best of the ones I’ve seen by a long shot. Oh, and thirdly, why did they keep focusing on that weird painting of that guy (or woman, it was hard to tell) when he or she turned out not to have anything to do with the film…? Baffling. Completely and utterly baffling. And why are the stairs haunted in the first place? We never really find out, which is disappointing.
On the plus side, the shots of the wishing stairs (which are outdoors) thickly carpeted first in autumn leaves and then in snow as the seasons change are gorgeous. There’s a lovely reddish-brown autumnal kind of colour to the film that I enjoyed. I think I’d like to finish on a positive note, haha, so we might leave it there.
It’s not a terrible film, but it’s not exactly great either. It was confusing in places and I couldn’t really bring myself to care much about the three main characters because they were pretty much all uniformly horrible people. Ooops. That’s not leaving things on a positive note. What else can I think of to say about WISHING STAIRS that’s not negative? Well, there’s an interesting statue in the school art-room which I think you should check out. Grand. That’ll do nicely. Cheerio and goodnight for now…
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger, sex blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn, Le Dernier Paradis at the Trinity Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival.
Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issues magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. In August 2014, she won the ONE LOVELY BLOG award for her (lovely!) horror film review blog. She is addicted to buying books and has been known to bring home rain-washed tomes she finds on the street and give them a home.
She is the proud possessor of a pair of unfeasibly large bosoms. They have given her- and the people around her- infinite pleasure over the years. She adores the horror genre in all its forms and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia. She would also be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man. You can contact her at:
1) ‘… BY A WOMAN WALKING HER DOG…’
2) A WRITER’S JOURNEY
3) ANNA MEETS COUNT DRACULA
4) ANOTHER FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
5) CANCER BALLS
6) CATCH OF THE DAY
7) FIFTY FILTHY-DIRTY SEX-POEMS YOU MUST READ BEFORE I DIE.
8) FIFTY REALLY RANDOM HORROR FILM REVIEWS TO DIE FOR…
9) THE DEVIANTS
10) VISITING DAY