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DVD Review: The Wig (2005)

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The Wig (2005)
( aka Gabal (original title),  Scary Hair)

Directed by Shin-yeon Won

DVD Review: The Wig (2005)A film about a cursed wig shouldn't work, the whole idea seems ludicrous, but I am rather surprised to admit this Korean horror film about a scary hairpiece has quite a lot going for it.

The story is set in Seoul and the central characters are two sisters, Su-Hyeon and Ji-Hyeon.  Su-Hyeon has terminal cancer and her treatment has caused her to loose her hair. At the beginning of the film her sister arrives at the hospital to take her home. She does not tell Su-Hyeon that her time is running out, but she does bring her a present, and you will have probably guessed that it is a wig. It's a nice thought on Ji-Hyeon's part; it's just a pity that the wig is made from hair removed from a dead body.

Su-Hyeon does not put on the wig straight away. She is too anxious to get out of the hospital, and by the time she gets to her sisters home the wig is so keen for some head that on a couple of occasions it waits right in front of the door to Su-Hyeon's room. On the first occasion Ji-Hyeon finds it and hangs it back up, but moments later, when Su-Hyeon enters the room, the wig is once again waiting by the door. She picks it up, sits in front of her mirror, and places the wig on her head. From that moment on she is changed woman and her health improves straight away. Her attitude also changes. The new and improved Ji-Hyeon has much more self confidence and becomes a little too interested in her sister’s boyfriend. She also starts having some rather nasty hallucinations, and this is not the only price she has to pay for her new lease of life because the evil power inside the wig seem to be intent on possessing her completely.

As already mentioned earlier in this review, The Wig has quite a lot going for it. Some of the scenes really are quite scary, but the story does not always flow as well as it should and it can be hard to keep track of what is happening. Much of the blame for this possibly falls on the shoulders of the Director, Shin-yeon Won. This was his first film, and he was also partly responsible for the script, so he may have been a little too close to the project to realize that some viewers may struggle to understand what is happening and why.

The strangest scene in the entire film shows Ji-Hyeon pulling pills out of her scalp. There is a lot of blood, which makes it messy work, but she does, at least, do it with a smile on her face. It’s quite a disturbing scene to watch, cleverly done, and gruesome enough that it may shock more squeamish viewers. It all seems a little pointless though, because it does not really fit in with the context of the story. Or if it does I failed to understand how.

Overall, despite the fact that the story stumbles along rather than flows, I enjoyed watching The Wig. My favourite part is towards the end of the film when Su-Hyeon goes to the deserted wig factory, hoping to find her sister there. It’s a dingy-looking place and there are so many mannequin body parts strewn here there and everywhere, not to mention wigs and clumps of hair, that it creates quite an unnerving atmosphere. A few things begin to make sense in these final scenes, but the ending of the film, though tragic, is not particularly powerful. Having said that, some of the scenes work very well indeed and easily compensate for any problems with flow and script.

DVD Review: The Wig (2005)

Buying &

Rental Options

The Wig is available to buy or rent on DVD, but at the time of this review Blu-ray options are not available. It's an enjoyable film, but viewers with a dislike of  an intense dislike of subtitles may want to give this one a miss because—at the moment anyway—it is a case of reading the subtitles, learning to speak Korean, or waiting to see if Hollywood decides to remake the film for the English-speaking market. I’ll stick with the subtitles.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Runtime: 103 mins
Certificate: 15 (UK)


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