The Wig (Gabal) (2005)

Hair horror from Shin-yeon Won.
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The Wig (Gabal) - Shin-yeon Won

A South Korean movie entitled The Wig AKA Scary Hair will instantly conjure up uninspiring pictures of standard supernatural hair-ghosts creeping out whiney Asian girls in an attempt to exploit the trend of J-Horror breaking into the Western world. As is often the case with Korean movies of this ilk, The Wig takes on a darker tone than the more contemporary Japanese paranormal shenanigans and despite more fighting over fur than a Jess Franco movie and a typical storyline for the genre, this movie exhibits a more daunting atmosphere than the often dark humour of some of the supplementary Ringu cash-ins. Director Shin-yeon Won takes some already emotionally harrowing concepts such as living with Leukaemia, chemotherapy, troubled relationships, being a hot bald female and throws in a demonic hairpiece to fuck with the situation.

The Wig is Shin-yeon Won's directorial debut and it shows in places although working with such a basic premise as a possessed wig is going to be a challenge. The numerous twists and turns seem superfluous at times but effectively creates a more foreboding and depressing scenario for the characters involved plus pads out a storyline that would more befit a third of a Simpsons Halloween special without them. There is some nice scenes of gore and some scenes that distress but overall the spooky factor is missing despite employing some tried and tested techniques that have managed to inspire ring twitches in previous Asian horror movies. The subtle anomalies such as reflections that don't match that which is being reflected and split second inconsistencies in the background are a nice touch and can creep out in the right scenarios but for those not new to Asian horror these procedures will fail to surprise.

Su-hyeon (Chae Min-seo) is battling with Leukaemia and her older sister Ji-hyeon (Yu Seon) is mute due to throat impalement as a result of a car accident. Despite this Ji-hyeon decides that the best place for her long suffering sister is at home rather than in a hospital. Due to the effects of chemotherapy Su-hyeon is follicularly challenged and her sister decides that the solution is a wig made from cadaver hair.

The application of a dead person hair not only makes Su-hyeon feel "confident and stylish" but she also seems to start making a remarkable recovery preferring to deposit her medicine under the bed rather than down her throat. As her confidence and style grows she starts to take on a more supercilious attitude towards her friends and her sister and the family bonds begin to breakdown, made worse by Su-hyeon trying to get some action from her sister's ex-lover. This further complication in the sisters' already chaotic life soon reveals that the wig is to blame for everything and that some shady past dramas have created a postiche with a penchant for love and vengeance which have come back to haunt the family.

If a happy ending is how you like to finish a sensory massage then this is not the parlour for you to be frequenting, the Japanese masseuse is probably the one you are looking for as The Wig does not present any hope for cancer sufferers, spurned suicidal homosexuals, demonic toupee's or mute sisters. It ends on a very low note but this dark and depressing situation is quite common in Korean cinema. It is a nice thought to take the hair concept so prevalent in Asian horror and try and make an entire movie based around it and maybe in the hands of a more experienced director this could have been an innovative shocker but instead it comes across as just another hair horror but with a morbid undertone. This is entertaining and enjoyable to watch and maintains interest throughout with some nice gore to keep you on your toes but if you are looking for a hair horror to add an extra inch to your vertical then Mikhail Baryshnikov recommends you watch Exte.
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Categories: Asian Horror Movies

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