DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Cello

An "Asia Extreme" horror feature with lots of cellos

Published on November 29, 2006

Cello
Cello

Studio: Tartan Video TVD3038
Video: 1.85:1 anamorphic enhanced for 16:9, color
Audio: DTS 5.1, DD 5.1, 2.0, Korean
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Extras: Director’s commentary, Behind the Scenes, Theatrical trailer, TV spot, Previews of new releases from Tartan Asia Extreme
Length: 92 minutes
Rating: ***1/2 (unless you can’t stand horror)

In case you weren’t aware, there is a major movie genre of horror and thriller movies from Asia which tend to go beyond the pale in the areas of blood and gore.  Most are from South Korea or Japan and this one caught my eye due to the music tie-in evidenced by its title and artwork.

Mi-ju is a teacher of music theory at a local college and also a cellist. Her best friend, also a cellist, had been killed as a passenger in her car.  Unpleasant things begin to happen to Mi-ju which seem at first connected with one of her students to whom she gave a poor grade.  But then a connection with the dead cellist seems to come to the fore as supernatural incidents and killings mount. There are borrowings from other Asian horror features, such as a cassette tape which causes strange things to occur when it is played.  There is also a lot of playing of vinyl, though this is a recent film – that was fun. Even the gimmick of a song with deadly fallout seems lifted from Gloomy Sunday, which I just reviewed. In this film the tune is called Rainy Saturday.

Cello is beautifully filmed and the acting is OK, but the plot doesn’t flow together very well.  A few shots suddenly appear that make no sense whatever until much later in the film.  Odd framing and angles are sometimes used; a sequence in a parking garage focuses only on the high heels and ankles of two women going to their cars, making it look like a foot fetishist was behind the camera. The final scene is identical to one of the opening scenes until the very end, making you think you accidentally hit the chapter button on your remote and returned to the beginning. And it is bloody, as expected, and both a child and dog die in it, so be warned.

 - John Sunier




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