Whispering Corridors (1998)

Whispering“Whispering Corridors” was not an awful film, as a matter of fact I’ve yet to see a Japanese horror film that I thought was incredibly awful, but “Whispering Corridors” is in fact, boring. It’s aggressively boring. As a matter of fact, if you or anyone you know has insomnia and you’re attempting to cure it, put on “Whispering Corridors” and you’ll find them asleep within a half hour, for sure. Ki-Hyung Park’s direction is quite possibly the saving grace for “Whispering Corridors.”

He strives not only in bleak futility of these girls’ lives which are consumed by abusive authority figures, and education, but the possibility that there’s really no future in the school they’re in. Park’s film bears an excellent atmospheric gritty nuance to it, especially in the first ten minutes which hold more suspense than the entire product combined. There’s also some great imagery here particularly the main character’s painting of an incident at the school, and the first ten minutes which feature a brutal death that sets up the plot for what feels like an Argento film from beginning to end, sans the gore.

Park seems to direct in the vein of Argento with a story that felt mysteriously like “Suspiria” except with much more suspense. The story, a first part of a trilogy, begins on a high note, as a teacher of a girl’s boarding school finds that she’s not alone after hours and is brutally murdered by someone. The next morning two early students find her body, and the incident sets off a chain of events. As much as I wanted to become involved in the mystery which began with a high note, unfortunately most of the story is spent on utterly slow and sluggish pacing that relies on uninteresting character drama and dynamics that were never as intriguing as it thought.

With the main character receiving mysterious pictures in her mind, one girl watching a small red puddle gather above her desk, and a very abusive teacher, nothing ever grabbed my attention and the bland mystery only achieves mediocrity as it lags and drags with a boring climax that was neither surprising nor frightening. Suffice it to say after watching this film, I can only imagine how dreadful the sequels will be. Of course I could be wrong. Though the film does have excellent direction, atmosphere, and imagery, it fails in many aspects as a mystery, character driven drama, and basic film altogether.