Wishing Stairs
Ji-Hyo Song
Directed By:
Jae-yeon Yun

The film Wishing Stairs is yet another in a growing stream (or one might say - flood) of oriental horror flicks that's made their way to North America. While most seem to fall into line with the likes of Ringu, with spiritual monsters taking their revenge, some fall into different areas of action. Much like the Urban Legends movies, Wishing Stairs deals with an urban legend that ends up bringing the world of a private school into a violent disarray.

Leading up to the school is a set of 28 steps. If you count each step as you take it, a 29th step will appear and the person is allowed to make a wish. But in a Monkey's Paw-like twist, how the wish is executed is based on the intention of the wish maker. Of course, if wishes were made with good intentions, there wouldn't be much to this movie, now would there.

At the beginning of the movie, two friends are trying out for the ballet recital, when jealousy rears its ugly head. When a fellow student who was once obese turns up thin, claiming she made a wish to be thin, the scorned friend wishes to be in the ballet recital. This leads an accident where her friend can no longer dance and her eventual suicide. In turn, this leads to further macabre developments with the wishing stairs that turns towards the return of the dead and a disturbing realization of revenge.

The cinematography is a bit strange but it works with the oddball telling of the story. When events turn for the worse, you'll be treated to a deranged view of the victims and survivors. I feel that Wishing Stairs falls in line with Uzumaki in that it's oddity works in its favor, but not so much that it drags the movie down.

Acting is at times pretty good, but at other times, quite predictable. Odd characters tend to be overblown and some emotions feel a bit too forced. There are scenes that deliver with a fine impact by both the way they're acted and by the way they're directed.

If I can hold anything against Wishing Stairs, besides the uneven performances, is that fact that it tends to drag on too long and there seems to be too many side events that could have been easily paired down to make the main story seem less frayed. If they had trimmed a few characters out and focused more on the characters that affect the main story path, the overall plot would have been a lot stronger.

Wishing Stairs is a good diversion that doesn't stand out too far from the rest of the genre. It does offer a different means to its horror and those looking to get something different that dark haired girls crawling out of wells should rent this one for some enjoyment.

- - Vane

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