Cello poster

Cello (2005)

Mi-ju, a music teacher who abandoned her dreams of becoming a professional cellist after a nearly fatal crash took the life of her best friend, suddenly finds herself confronted with the demons of her past.  If she can’t come to terms with her past and lay those spirits to rest, it might be her family that pays the price.

After losing her best friend (and fellow cellist), Mi-ju settles into a quiet life of teaching music.  Her home life is quiet, with her children, her husband and her sister-in-law.  A confrontation with a disgruntled student upsets her, nearly causing her to get into another accident on the way home one day and setting the stage for some bizarre occurrences until those close to her start dying.  At first blaming the student and later coming to grips with the idea that this is connected to her past, Mi-ju must accept her past and her own role in her fate to save her life and her family.

More creepy than horrific, this is a film that you’ll need to sit and watch.  Admittedly, it takes some time to get going.  After the initial set-up, there is a whole lot of dead time with her family – some of it sets up later creepiness, some of it develops the characters and some of it just seems to take up space.  Once things start to move, however, they move.  After the strange events claim the first victim, there is another down period – and the death seems really glossed over – but a second wave of dread comes on in a pretty much endless wave until the conclusion.  That conclusion makes the film.

Many people will have a hard time sitting through the down time to get to the payoff – that’s unfortunate.  The conclusion – and even the twist afterward (wink wink) are worth the wait.  The movie suffers from some uneven acting, too much exposition and a mostly useless red herring in the form of Mi-ju’s angry student, but for fans of Asian horror, this is a step above a lot of the American remakes.  If you’re not a fan of the genre, you’ll probably be bored and find it derivative.  You’ve been warned.


Stars: 3/5


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