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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 1.59%
Pretty Bad: 3.17%
Total Crap: 3.17%

1 review, 57 user ratings

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Memento Mori
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Scares, thrills, tingles and surprises all included."
5 stars

The word ‘memento’ seems unique enough so that the likelihood of it turning up as or in the title of a film very often is a low probability.

So what then are the chances that it would be in and of the title of not one, but two of the best films released this year?—the Christopher Nolan directed Memento and the Korean ghost story/mystery/lesbian romance Memento Mori, also known as Whispering Corridors 2. (According to IMDb, there is not much, if anything, shared between this and its Whispering predecessor except for the titles.) Schoolgirl Min-ah (Kim Min-sun) stumbles upon a beautifully creative diary abandoned on the campus. Voyeuristically, as she becomes involved in the events transcribed into the book, she also becomes very curious about the couple itself—Shi-eun (Lee Young-jin), a star athlete and her once-secret, but now publicly-know girlfriend Hyo-shin (Park Yeh-jin ), a poetic and pensive beauty. Writers/directors Kim Tae-yong and Min Kyu-dong try to match the elegance and elaboration of the diary in their narrative technique of flashing back to the past to witness segments and events during the couple’s relationship without announcing when it is a flashback and without announcing when it is over. It therefore doubly serves to key-in Min-ah to what happened to them in the past, explaining why they aren’t together any longer, and to build and establish the young lovers and their history for us. Min-ah has her own clique (one of the characters, Ji-won, is skinny and flat-chested, and always seems to be getting chastised about one thing or another humorously), but once Hyo-shin randomly commits suicide by jumping from the roof of the school, Min-ah tries to offer her friendship to the distressed and beleaguered Shi-eun as she copes with the love that didn’t work and with the knowledge that Hyo-shin had also been having an affair with her male counselor. Nothing stays simple in life as a teenager, so add the ghostly menace of Hyo-shin to haunt Min-ah and Shi-eun first, and then the entire school. To some people’s disappointment, Memento Mori is not a heated lesbian romp, though one would certainly find the relationship between the two girls as passionate. The tale is very alluring, extremely mesmerizing; from the first scent, it will completely enrapture and toy with your fear factor. Memento Mori is scary and brilliant in a whole other way than the following film reviewed, Audition, as the levels of fear and horror bifurcate into separate and distinctive genres. Memento Mori is frightening in the way The Others or The Sixth Sense should have been; as the waving tendrils of the plot spin and whirl and flap in unpredictable and asymmetrical patterns, there are any number of subtle scares, shivers, surprises and tingles that quickly arouse goosebumps. The twisting, bending and blending narrative is never confusing or disorderly, but works advantageously to keep the viewers aptly attentive—this strict guideline is easy to abide by especially since what lore it conjures and whips up is so persuasive and absorbing from start to finish. The supernatural and lesbianism certainly make for an interesting and strange combination, but they are two freshly melded ideas that shed the moldiness of when they are separate and nondescript in most cinematic treatments presently. Memento Mori works as soundly as crafted clockwork because all of the inner and outer responsibilities of the film are stabile and callused for maximum potential. Tae-yong and Kyu-dong have achieved an awesome collaboration, working tightly on the story and on their direction. Everything is as clear and precise as it needs to be within the storyline while still allowing it to maintain a fair share of ambiguity and forthcoming benefactions. There is some wonderful camerawork honed—clear, crisp and solicitous dexterity in the matriculation of images—with the exception of some trendy bleached and metallicized hand-held shots, but credit is due to whomever was responsible since IMDb doesn’t have the additional listings and the studio supplied no supplementary information. The film is furthermore made airtight by the stunning debut performances by all three of the main girls. Young-jin, Yeh-jin and Min-sun are all so much more capable and qualified to deliver believable and startling performances than American actresses like Kirsten Dunst, Katie Holmes and Mena Suvari. It helps that these young Korean actresses are unfamiliar to our dishabituated and discriminatory minds, but these girls also have what you call real, unintimdating talent; there are not just mere passages and moments that the young actresses impress and work with a consciouslessness and unaffected persona, but they are the characters. They are faced with a challenge and live up to it. The only challenges that the three aforementioned American actresses regularly face is whether or not to do nudity, and/or how much cleavage and bust will be required for each successive role. However, the film’s best performance comes not from one of the main three girls, but from Paek Chong-hak as Ji-won. Nothing left as deft an impression as my amazing discovery (well, more so Tae-yong and Kyu-dong’s discovery) of Chong-hak, who, while she doesn’t possess any stirring physical prowess of sexiness and attractive looks, her very natural appearance, uninhibited charm and actualization of the character and her flaws and traits makes her role the most meaningful, even if most unintentional. Memento Mori is definitely one of this year’s best released films, and the spell it casts, the haunt it ensures, is not one to quickly be forgotten or dissipated. I hope to see all of those involved in this in something sooner rather than later.

Final Verdict: A.

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originally posted: 09/29/01 01:01:11
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User Comments

3/01/15 manalone923 IDIOT 1 stars
11/16/11 Golden J. Williams Jr. Great movie in every sense. 5 stars
2/25/11 mori complicated and disturbing 4 stars
12/17/09 K.C. the best! i like the flow of the story! terrific! 5 stars
10/13/09 hye Nope. I like Yoo Shi-eun too. 4 stars
8/15/08 Josh Am I the only one who loves You Shi-eun? Ah well. 5 stars
5/19/08 lynn ive seen a lot of korean movies and this one is great! perfect casts and perfect story! 5 stars
7/09/07 buble too deep too see,awesome!! 4 stars
2/07/07 John Lacson I love the movie.. it's the best...muahahah 5 stars
9/04/06 K.Sear Breathtaking and infinitely better than "Whispering Corridors". 5 stars
4/27/05 louis wow so good, and with girls what else? 4 stars
4/24/05 cute i love the lesbian 5 stars
3/22/05 Dani difficult to understand 3 stars
2/01/05 dfghc jczghcg 1 stars
12/28/04 Sakurazawa I thought this movie was very good, and I enjoyed it a lot. 4 stars
11/14/04 Wendilyn Juario a like the movie..super..pls make another movie with the same cast..plsss 5 stars
10/19/04 Ranny good 5 stars
10/19/04 beanlady excellent 5 stars
9/28/04 MM fan Would like to see the 3 girls acting together in another film 5 stars
9/01/04 mikay i adore the movie!! i think its quality to watch 5 stars
8/16/04 Leslie D.C. not your ordinary thriller and love story, i adored it 5 stars
8/15/04 jane i like this film and i hope to see it again here in the phils. 5 stars
8/03/04 Mae its the greatest!!!! 5 stars
7/03/04 Leslie D.C. the cinematography was TOP rate.if youve ever been so inlove you'll really love this movie. 5 stars
6/22/04 Caronae S. Abrigana It's one of the best film I've ever seen in my whole life!I love the actress Lee Young Jin! 5 stars
6/10/04 Karren R.Fernandez it's good movie i ever watch.U can feel iti 5 stars
4/07/04 Riza Bulawan a must see movie!!! it's really great!!! i like Min-sun Kim!!! she's the best!!! 5 stars
4/01/04 sansho Mediocre ; i'm at a loss to understand its great appeal 2 stars
3/30/04 Rodrigo C. Yago the movie was most awesome.PArk Yehjin and KIM Min-sun are beautiful!!!!! 5 stars
3/22/04 n1nna i luv lee young-jin too. is she really a lesbian? 5 stars
3/22/04 karla i fell in love with this movie...definitely a masterpiece... 5 stars
3/09/04 mitchi_cheng Gash! the movie is so terrific, i like it,esp. lee young jin haha! i think i like her. 5 stars
3/02/04 baby it clearly depictd the struggles of a teengr esp. those typified as an outcast (lsbiansm) 5 stars
3/01/04 penny joyce llaban its grate... hope to see more movie like that... about lesbian.... relationship of same sex 5 stars
2/26/04 resti rias i love the movie it's nice. I really like it especially the casts of the movie 5 stars
2/26/04 carla i simply love lee young jin!!! is she a lesbian??? 5 stars
2/26/04 monday the movie is great, it focuses on the lives of lesbians & d meaning of love.ilovethemovie!! 5 stars
2/25/04 -08- it was awsome!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/24/04 bejeth it was great! 5 stars
2/01/04 pink Ive seen this film a wonderful story esp. for those into same sex relationship 5 stars
1/29/04 hewt its a deeply moving yet bothering-reality one 4 stars
1/27/04 abigail gonzales perfectmovie! the best!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/27/04 Raoul Bova definitley a superb click for it didn't made me look inferior as a man! 5 stars
1/19/04 Airra Mendoza it's superb! yoo shi-eun is so...never mind. she reminds me of vic zhu of F4! 5 stars
1/17/04 alexa criselle comia a sensitive story, deep acting of characters 5 stars
11/14/03 Jon Beautiful and scary 5 stars
8/31/03 acAeris99 best movie this year 5 stars
2/18/03 Pelle Palle by far the best korean film made that year 5 stars
12/18/02 Wh1zk3y_K Most beautiful movie, with great sense of art =) 5 stars
9/19/02 Dave Be So Good What happened in the end? I don't understand at all! 2 stars
9/09/02 Al Chase Really Awesome 5 stars
5/20/02 Joe Blow Very good except for the ending! 4 stars
4/23/02 Realessence What a sensational experience! 5 stars
11/30/01 po yes 5 stars
10/01/01 ashley cleaveland AWESOME IT IS THE BEST 5 stars
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  DVD: 12-Apr-2005



Directed by
  Tae-Yong Kim
  Kyu-Dong Min

Written by
  Tae-Yong Kim
  Kyu-Dong Min

  Min-sun Kim
  Yeh-jin Park
  Young-jin Lee

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