Reel Asian 2014: Mourning Grave

MourningGrave In-su (Kang Ha-neul) is a high school student, who is tormented by his ability to see vengeful ghosts.  In-su shares this ability with his agoraphobic uncle Sun-il (Kim Jung-tae), with whom he goes to live with.  Shortly after starting at his new high school, In-su befriends a ghost girl (Kim So-eun), which blossoms into an otherworldly romance.  However, at the same time, students begin to be attacked by a vengeful masked spirit of a fellow student, who committed suicide.  In-su must use his abilities to find this spirit is and put her soul to rest. This South Korean production blends together horror with elements of teen comedy and romance.  Of these elements, the horror is probably the most successful, with the film having some particularly chilling moments, including a pretty well-executed sequence in a washroom.  Mourning Grave seems heavily inspired by other types of Asian horror films, particularly the vengeful female ghosts often seen in J-horror films, such as Ju-on.  While the teen comedy aspect of the film is a little more hit or miss, the film is somewhat successful in the romantic angle, despite it being between a living boy and a ghost girl. In many ways, Mourning Grave is using its scares to give an anti-bullying message.  Not only is In-su himself a victim of bullying, but is revealed throughout the course of the film that the masked vengeful ghost is attacking students that bullied her while she was alive.  This gives a very interesting subtext to what is otherwise an OK ghost story.  While there are undoubtedly better horror films than Mourning Grave, the film does deliver the scares when it has to and it turns out to have a pretty important message behind it.7 | FAIR 

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Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).