OFFERING A mix of horror and comedy, Spellbound (2011) is a lighthearted romantic comedy, who doesn’t offer much conflict but is surprisingly entertaining.
To be upfront, what sets this film from other films is that it effectively handles horror and comedy. As you may observe, that rarely happens in movies. In logic, as the film puts it, if a heroine, in a horror movie, falls in love, the scary factor loses its effect, because it would be overcome by romance. Without qualifying the situation, how can a person be scared if there’s a person beside her willing to protect her?
That’s why even if there is a couple in a horror film, say in the case of “Shutter”, “Scream” or “A Nightmare On Elm Street”, the romance is usually suspended to make way for the horror. It’s either you gain the element of one genre but you lose the other. In “Spellbound”, you get to keep both. At one point, we get to smile as drunk Yuri rips off Jo-gu’s tailor made shirt. Then the mood shifts, as we see a long-haired abnormally white-skinned tone woman coming out from a frame, matching with a cool breeze wind.
Let us just say when the film shows comedy, you’ll feel the comedy. When it shows horror, you’ll feel the horror. This is truly a unique cinematic experience.
With every romance, there’s always a barrier to keep the couple apart, in the case of “Spellbound”, Yuri has the ability to see ghosts and is haunted by a particular ghost in the past. This makes her life disturbing, and everyone she gets acquainted will, one way or another, gets caught up with the curse. That’s why her family left her, and Yuri has to live her life all alone. But with every chaos, there’s always that man that will make things seem right, this is where Jo-gu, a street-magician, comes in. He helps Yuri from her problem, but, in the process, eventually falls in love.
Based on what I observed, romantic comedy films tend to rely heavily on creative screenplay and quirky acting to give a satisfying experience. Fortunately, this film has both. After a long drinking session, Yuri says, “Let’s go somewhere else”. She gets up, but instead of moving out from the restaurant she walks around, and sits on another table – in the same restaurant. Or how about when Yuri comes over to Jo-gu’s house to inspect on a ghost, she comes across with a refrigerator full of food. Jo-gu’s offer her one strawberry jam, but when Jo-gu’s suddenly away, Yuri mischievously gets another one. In the same sequence, Jo-gu’s checks the toilet. Yuri’s baffled. Jo-gu replies, “Just in case”.
Apparently, the most creative scene is the ending, the “typical” airport scene where the guy begs the girl not to board on an airplane amidst his love declaration. It perfectly sums up the whole film – that is giving both horror and comedy.
Another observation is that this film doesn’t flaunt too much conflict. We learn that Jo-gu has already a girlfriend, but we don’t actually see it come to materialize. One would expect that this would break Jo-gu and Yuri apart, but it actually doesn’t. Or that we expect, since we have a supernatural conflict, an above average resolution, but we don’t necessarily get it. We do have setbacks, but it isn’t really strong enough to tear the characters. The film doesn’t also have an evident climax, since we don’t really feel the tension building.
Even though it deviates from the usual story structure, it doesn’t change the fact that it entertains us so well.
The high quality pictures were from AsianWiki.