Having the ability to see what normal people don’t like ghosts and other unworldly things, is it a curse or a gift? Well, it depends on how you look at it. If you’d consider this as something that could save lives or bring justice to restless souls, then it’s a gift. But if you’d see this as something that could ruin your peace and sanity, then it’s definitely a curse. For me, if this would lead me to my one true love (just like the heroine in this feature), then I would embrace this ability with arms wide open as if it’s a blessing from up above. ㅋㅋㅋ. So without much further ado, let me present to you K-Movie Corner‘s Halloween special, Spellbound!
This 2011 horror romcom movie centers on the love story of a street magician (Lee Min-ki) and a ghost-seeing girl (Son Ye-jin), which reminds me so much of the K-Dramas Master’s Sun (2013) and Oh My Ghostess (2015). They all delivered a perfect combination of almost all the feels—spooky, romantic, comedic, and dramatic, making them the top favorites in their genre. But I will be honest here, unlike the two K-Dramas that are filled with lots of twists, Spellbound has a very familiar, if not cliche, movie plot. You know, the guy meets the girl, gets close to her, then discovers her pitiful situation but falls in love with her anyway. Nonetheless, I find the movie very entertaining primarily because of its charming leads, who displayed a very strong chemistry on screen.
Son Ye-jin is one of those actresses that I truly respect because her acting is always on point. I loved her so much in The Classic and Eraser in My Head wherein her dramatic scenes got me crying a river. Here, she proved her versatility by showcasing a lighter side of her acting prowess. In fact, she got a Best Actress nomination at the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards for her performance in this film. Aside from that, her non-aging visuals never fail to mesmerize me. There are flashback scenes in this movie wherein she’s shown as high school student and girl, she could really pass as one!
Lee Min-ki, on the other hand, is a new discovery to me. It’s my first time seeing his acting, and it made me want to go on some serious binge-watching of all his past projects. His cute and funny portrayal in this movie totally won me over. Plus, he’s a master kisser! Omo. And though he’s not the type of oppa whose visuals are strikingly perfect, he will grow on you the more you look at him and will kill you with his oozing sex appeal. Makes me wonder what in the world am I doing all this time to discover him this late?
The film’s impressive box office performance proved that it’s not only me who appreciated the main leads’ superb chemistry and acting skills. It recorded over three million ticket admissions in South Korea, making it the 7th top-grossing movie of 2011.
Being the horror-loving person that I am, I can also say that Spellbound’s spooky scenes are well-played. Yeah, it isn’t the type of horror movie that won’t make you fall asleep at night, but director and writer Hwang In-ho’s wise use of the element of surprise will surely make you scream and flinch. I particularly like the ghost boy’s scenes, especially that moment when he ran towards Jo-goo (Lee Min-ki) then suddenly disappeared, only for Jo-goo to find him clinging onto his back when he looked at a glass frame! Admirable, Jo-goo. He’s clearly afraid of all the ghosts haunting Yeo-ri (Son Ye-jin), yet he chose to love her still. Tell me, where can I find myself a guy like that?
Final verdict: Spellbound may be cliche, but who cares if it’s this charming? 4/5
~All the credit for the photos/videos/GIFs used in this review goes to CJ Entertainment.