Friday, 10 July 2009



Asian horror. First we started with The Ring, which was excellent: genuinely creepy. And then, in an "if-you-like-that-you'll-like-this" kind of style, they gave us The Grudge. Which we again lapped up (though I personally wasn't keen on it) and begged for more, so lo and behold they gave us The Eye. And eventually they said "Well, rather than doing this one movie at a time, here's 548 other Asian horror movies - knock yourselves out." That's where it all went wrong, of course. We soon realised that we'd already had most of the best ones, and of the 548 others a few were still pretty good (I really liked the original Shutter), several were absolutely unspeakable and the bulk of them were pretty ordinary with little to commend them. Nevertheless, the bandwagon (and its attendant bandwagon of dumbo American remakes) was off and rolling. That's how we end up with The Wig, in which we really seem to be running out of household objects to be infused with a supernatural curse. What's next? Soup Spoon? Umbrella? Bogroll Holder?

The Wig is, fairly obviously, about a cursed wig: bought for a terminal leukemia sufferer by her sister, the curse's originator starts to inexorably possess her. People start dying, there are dream sequences, none of it makes much sense: the usual Asian horror movie nonsense. On this occasion there's little in the way of spectacle beyond a car pile-up in a tunnel, which is quite effective but it's the only scene that really works. The rest of it is, frankly, a bit on the dull side.

The other effect of having a film about a wig, of course, is that it allows the makers to drag out the now too-familiar Asian horror trope about hair. Ringu and Ju-On (the original Ring and Grudge films) both had female ghosts with long, lank black hair that covered their faces and did look really creepy. But that was around ten years ago and since then every other Asian horror movie since has been obliged to include the spooky girl with the long lank black hair. It's not that scary any more.


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