Dead Friend (2004) aka Ryeong aka The Ghost Movie Review
Written By: YN
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Kim Tae-gyeong
Producers: Jeong Oh-young
Writers: Kim Tae-gyeong
Date Released: June 18, 2004
Kim Ha-neul as Min Ji-won
Nam Sang-mi as Su-in
Ryu Jin as Park Jun-ho
Jeon Hye-bin as Eun-seo
Shin Yi as Mi-kyung
Jeon Hee-ju as Yu-jung
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Amnesiac college student Ji-Won has recently been experiencing peculiar flashbacks and nightmares that results to her setting out to investigate her mysterious past. After an encounter with a former high school friend, Ji-Won is compelled to uncover a secret that their clique has buried a long time ago. But time is not on her side as a violent spirit is unleashed and is on a path of revenge with Ji-Won and her former high school friends as the targets.
Despite having the word “dead” in its title, Dead Friend (2004) does not contain gore nor has any bloody scenes. Deaths in the film are usually done by drowning so their corpses are mostly just bloated with bloodshot eyes. Even the ghost looks relatively tame despite its violent nature. The only part that can make you feel a bit squeamish is when one of the characters pulled out a lot of hair from the sink drainer.
The Grave Review
If you’re looking for a good scare, then Dead Friend (2004) can give you that heart-pounding, hair-raising fright that you’re looking for. It immediately jumps right into the suspense with very little preamble, reeling you into the story from the get-go. While the death scenes aren’t gory or bloody, the way the tension gradually builds up and panders on the viewers’ paranoia–you will often find yourself at the edge of your seat, waiting for the jump scare to finally pop out. The story itself is interesting and will get you invested on finding out Ji-Won’s past and her connection with the vengeful spirit, but its mediocre ending will leave you a bit dissatisfied with how it left things in the story.
The pacing in the film slaps you right into action without prior segments that can get dragging. Already, its first few minutes is dedicated to showing how the evil spirit is unleashed, resulting to one death in the tally. From then on, the movie does not have a shortage of jump scares and eerie, nightmarish sequence. Once the horror starts, it just goes on and on.
Dead Friends (2004) stays true to the Asian horror genre by giving us tension-filled scenes where the ghost violently haunts a character, resulting to someone’s death. These scenes are drawn out where the suspense gradually escalates until it reaches its peak. At the end of those few minutes, you will just find yourself trying to calm your madly beating heart.
The film isn’t just all jump scares and tension since the story itself is quite good. It is written in a way that it doesn’t try to give everything away at the beginning, but when you reach the end, you will realize that the answer to the mystery has been right in front of you all along. It will keep you curious and invested all throughout the film.
The only downside to the movie is the ending, which is a bit of a disappointment. The confrontation between Ji-Won and the spirt is anticlimactic due to its limited screen-time. There isn’t any struggle or anything thrilling about it. The spirit simply revealed the truth behind Ji-Won’s amnesia and the reason why it is out for revenge, and that’s it. No screams. No blood. No fight. Ji-Won is simply frozen in shocked. And when the spirit is about to possess her body, Ji-Won just slashes her wrist and suddenly, everything is okay?
In the end, Dead Friend (2004) has shown such great potential at the beginning until the middle part of the film due to its frightening scenes and suspenseful sequence, but the ending fails to live up to your expectations and ultimately just falls flat.
For these foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Dead Friend (2004) three graves out of five graves.
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