STUDIO: Tartan Video
MSRP: $24.99
RUNNING TIME: 98 Minutes
• Making-of Featurette
• Photo Gallery
• Music Video
• Trailers

The Pitch

"It’s Brokeback Girl’s School and we’ll coerce the writers/directors into throwing in a ghost and make it a sequel to the already popular Whispering Corridors. Plus: young girls in school uniforms making out."

The Humans

Min-sun Kim, Yeh-jin Park, Young-jin Lee, Jong-hak Baek

The Nutshell

Min-ah (Min-sun Kim) finds a scrapbook made by her two classmates Hyo-shin (Yeh-jin Park) and Shi-eun (Young-jin Lee). Reading it, Min-ah discovers that her two peers have a relationship deeper than best friends. When Hyo-shin dies after a fall from a roof, Min-ah knows there is more going on than a simple accident.

Now if they could just get a sexy foot in the shot somewhere,
the Fetish Trifecta would be complete.

The Lowdown

Originally, Tae-Yong Kim and Kyu-Dong Min set out to make a film about girls having a lesbian relationship in an-all girls school and the social repercussions that such a relationship causes. As is not so uncommon, they were forced to compromise their vision by the producers so that their film Memento Mori would better follow a formula set by the film Whispering Corridors. Their story was already set in an all-girl’s school and had a mysterious death in the plot. This, these two films had in common. However, Kim and Min were compelled to add a supernatural element to the story so that Memento Mori would be a proper sequel. This accounts for the brilliant societal study of homophobia aspect of the film bogged down by the unnecessary ghost story aspect.

Hyo-shin and Shi-eun keep their relationship secret from the rest of their class as they know how disapproving their peers will be. This strain on their relationship proves to be too much for Shi-eun and she begins to distance herself from her lover. In a confused, drunken retaliation, Hyo-shin has an affair with a faculty member named Mr. Goh (Jong-hak Baek). In a fit of guilt and passionate longing, Hyo-shin then tries to force Shi-eun’s hand by kissing her passionately in the middle of a class full of their peers in a scene that, had it been heterosexual in nature, could have been a typical conclusion to a romance film. The class reacts violently and Hyo-shin runs to the lovers’ hideaway; the school’s roof. Alone, she plummets to the ground in what may or may not be a suicide. Only Min-ah knows the extenuating circumstances in this tragedy, as she has the scrapbook that Hyo-shin and Shi-eun shared.

What do you think? The Blues.

Then comes the ghost story. Hyo-shin’s ghost returns to wreak havoc on anyone who contributed to forcing the two lovers apart. The school erupts in a sort of combination Poltergeist/Carrie finale. All of this, of course, is very silly. Imagine if, at the end of Brokeback Mountain (SPOILER WARNING!), Jake Gyllenhaal’s character came back from the dead and took his revenge on Randy Quaid, Michelle Williams and the rednecks who killed him. It would destroy the heartbreaking tragedy of everything that came before, right? Well, that’s what we’re dealing with here. Memento Mori is a touching story about real love that society refuses to accept. Ignore the Casper parts and you’ll see a brilliant film.

In a way, it’s almost felicitous that a movie about societal pressures forcing girls to compromise their true selves is in turn forced to follow an arbitrary, predetermined format just to fit in.

"Jackass Audition. Take two: my friend will now jump off this roof
with her panties tied to the gutter."

The Package

The extras include a making-of documentary (or as the subtitles call it "Memento Mori Making Film"). This 25 minute long featurette shows us the filming of a few scenes, interviews with some of the leads and some statements made by the two writers/directors. The photo gallery has mostly stills from the film with a couple of publicity shots thrown in. The music video is just over 4 minutes long. It is a montage of scenes from the film set to music from the soundtrack. The trailers available here are for the Tartan Video releases of Whispering Corridors, Phone, Koma, A Tale of Two Sisters, Heroic Duo, Old Boy and the movie reviewed here. All told, not too bad a collection. Certainly better than the extras on the Whispering Corridors DVD. Seems like they’d want to stress that this film is a sequel to Whispering Corridors and that a third film in the series is also available in Wishing Stairs. I mean, after all the trouble the original producers went through to force Memento Mori into a specific mold, you might as well sell this as a sequel.

The cover is a nice picture of actress Young-jin Lee reading the scrapbook with bubbles photoshopped over her to make it look like she’s underwater. The tagline "Some Secrets Should Never Be Revealed" is mildly homophobic in the name of selling the scary side of this movie. Unnecessary. Otherwise, nice looking cover.

What the hell is that thing!?

8.2 out of 10