watching the first film in this series, I wasn’t expecting much.
Now, I sit here stunned: “Momento Mori” is simply one of the most
haunting and beautiful love stories I’ve ever seen. It’s tragic
and unsettling on different levels, and it makes for a ghost story
that is closer in tone to “A Tale of Two Sisters” than “The Ring.”
Memento Mori, like Whispering
Corridors, takes place in an all-girls school, but that’s
pretty much where the similarities end (in fact, each film can
be watched on its own and in any order). “...Mori” tells the story
of three schoolgirls in their senior year: Min-ah, Hyo-shi, and
Shi-eun. At the start of the film, Min-ah finds a secret diary
detailing a love affair shared by the other two girls and begins
to immerse herself in it, to the exclusion of all else. Then something
unexpected happens, and she finds herself unable to pull away.
In spite of how it sounds, Memento Mori is not lurid in
any sense of the word. The film remains non-judgmental throughout
and allows the story to simply be. Hyo-shi, and Shi-eun’s diary
(in itself, an additional character) is a heartbreakingly guiltless
and pure example of adolescent love; each page is alive with color
and activity. Remember that intensity of your first love? How
it felt as if your heart would physically break in two if the
one you loved were to ever rebuke you? I actually felt that again,
watching this film.
Of course, this is a horror movie, but it’s horror on a different
level; it’s the horror of how inhumane we can be to each other.
In that respect, it’s similar to the first film (where teachers
mercilessly pounded on students), but in a more subtle and terrifying
way. There’s not much in the way of traditional scares, but that
may be a good thing. This film gets under your skin and stays
with you long after the credits roll. And yes, I realize I’m being
vague, but this is a film that needs to be viewed fresh. The less
you know, the better.
It’s quiet, and it develops slowly but works on such a higher
level than the first film, that I understand why the directors
(reportedly) prefer “Memento Mori” to the “Whispering Corridors
2" moniker. Not everyone will enjoy it, but I’m not certain
that an enjoyable time was what they were going for. Regardless,
it needs to be seen at least once, especially if you have any
teenagers in the house. Round ‘em up and watch it with them; “Memento
Mori” is a keeper.
Pros: The cast is
amazingly natural and appealing. The story is solid, convincing,
and absolutely, cross-culturally, true to life.
Cons: Don’t expect
much gore, and there are no long-haired spirits here.
Review Rating: 8 out
of 10 little pink pills for you and me.