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Cello (2005) | DVD Review

( Cello ) feels as though the filmmakers didn’t quite have the budget, time, or perhaps balls to really make the film they wanted to make.

Hailing from South Korea, Cello is the story of Mi-ju Hong, a well-to-do cellist, wife, and mother of two trying to protect her family from an increasingly hostile threat. But is the innocent looking Mi-ju really a victim or has an unpleasant secret from her past come back to haunt her?

In spite of the tired vengeful ghost genre to which this film belongs, I kind of enjoyed this film. With that said, Cello is also a bit of an uneven mess. I want to recommend it, but the little devil on my right shoulder says it ain’t worth the trouble… Cello has that unmistakable quality of pulling it’s punches. For a horror film, it isn’t particularly frightening – or violent (there’s a fair amount of blood, but you rarely know how it got there). This, the filmmakers insist, is due to the fact they were shooting for a teenage friendly film rating. Instead, the film relies more on plot construction, atmospherics and mood to keep the viewer engaged. There’s some good performances, some not so good. Some decent CGI, some not. Some inspired plotting and some, well, you get the point. The film’s ending is open to interpretation, and this will probably determine whether or not you enjoy the film (Personally, I liked it). Unfortunately, there are instances in which Asian horror filmmakers rush a product to completion with the expectation that they’ll be able to re-make their film at a later date once they’ve gathered more resources, and the reality is Cello seems to fall into this scenario.

The special features consist of ‘Director’s Commentary’, ‘Behind the Scenes with Cast & Crew’, ‘Original Theatrical Trailer’, and ‘TV Spot’. The ‘Behind the Scenes’ featurette is mostly fluff and drags a bit with some over extended sequences of makeup application and cello lessons. The ‘Director’s Commentary’ is actually quite candid and refreshing. The director, Lee Woo-chul, discusses the film’s shortcomings as easily as he discusses it’s strengths. As an aside, Woo-chul makes a point about how audience reaction convinced him that his ghost was in fact, too attractive to be effective. Maybe, but it’s about time there were some ghosts with sex appeal…

Even though Cello is an interesting film, it’s frustrating to see certain aspects under performing. It all feels as though the filmmakers didn’t quite have the budget, time, or perhaps balls to really make the film they wanted to make. Ultimately, Cello is a disappointment. Sort of.

Movie rating – 2.5

Disc Rating – 2.5

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