Nightmare (2000)
By: Devon B. on September 16, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Universe Laser (Hong Kong) All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. Korean DD 2.0, Korean DD 5.1, Korean DTS 5.1, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English Subtitles. 97 minutes
The Movie
Director: Byeong-ki Ahn
Starring: Gyu-ri Kim, Ji-won Ha, Jeong-yun Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Jun-Sang Yu, Jun Jeong Hye-yeong Jo
Screenplay: Byeong-ki Ahn
Country: South Korea
AKA: Gawi; Horror Game Movie
What the hell is up with these Asians? They make cool films then give 'em the stupidest titles imaginable. I've decided that the entire Asian cinematic community should hire me to help with their English names. That way, if they come up to me with Nightmare, I'll be like, 'No, you fucking retard! People will think it's that crappy Emillio Estevez movie! I think you should call it Scary, Dead, Asian Girl Haunting Her Friends.' Now that's a title!

Scary, Dead, Asian Girl Haunting Her Friends opens with a spooky scene of a man in a morgue sewing up a corpse's eyes. Took me about two seconds to really get into this film. After the intro, it's story time. There's this group of old school friends that named themselves A Few Good Men, or A Few Good Man if you believe the title of one of their self-made video tapes. I'm not sure if they're fans of the Marines or Tom Cruise, but that's still a dumb thing to call yourselves…see, these Asians need me. It's been two years since one of their group committed suicide, and now she is haunting the surviving members. Yeah, I know, ground breaking plot development. But augmenting this extremely banal ghost revenge story is excellent direction and a damn effective ghost.

While Scary, Dead, Asian Girl Haunting Her Friends is not visually extreme like Volcano High or even Memento Mori, it is never boring to look at. Tautly directed and scripted by Byeong-ki Ahn, Scary, Dead, Asian Girl Haunting Her Friends is brimming with that eerie quality that most Asian films only have fleeting moments of. The ghost looks creepy even at long exposure, which is indeed a rarity in a film from any country. On second viewing I began to think she looked a little silly sometimes, like a less busty, serious Elvira, but the first time through I thought she was great.

While the ghost is cool, Scary, Dead, Asian Girl Haunting Her Friends is also made extremely engrossing by some wonderfully unsettling scenes. There's a great doll/ghost attack set in a library, featuring the best pencil to the hand since Willy Ragsdale stabbed Chris 'Humperdink' Sarandon in Fright Night. There's also an effective as hell bus crash, with the lone survivor eerily walking though the wreckage. On occasion, elements of these scenes are a little overdrawn, such as slow-mo running and close ups of the survivor's bloodied face, but nothing is ever overdone to the point of being actually bad. Except the CGI. There's one very Ringu, or rather Ringu 2, inspired scene with a terrible CG hand emitting from a video screen. Other than that one small bit, this is a great film.
The disc presents the film at a cropped 1.33:1. The film is fairly new, so the print is in nice shape, but there is minor print speckling. The image is pretty sharp, but unfortunately, there are some image trails on the disc, especially in darker scenes.
The audio is Korean, and available in DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound is nice and clear. Subs are available in traditional or simplified Chinese and English. The subs can get a bit blurry, but are fine. The typos and grammar are never excessive enough to become too distracting.
Extra Features
The DVD comes with the film's trailer, which is in 1.85:1.
The Verdict
Nightmare is a very good film, and one of the better ones to come out during the new Korean wave of horror. Due to the trailing and cropped image, I'd say get the disc cheap, but definitely get it.
Movie Score
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