Gonjiam Haunted Asylum
Movie Review by Siobahn Harris
I’m so excited to write this review. I found Gonjiam Haunted Asylum while watching a YouTube video about Korean horror movies. I’m obsessed with ghost hunting shows, as you can tell by my interview with Grant Wilson. This movie found a way to mix horror with my favorite type of shows, which instantly won me over.
This movie follows a ghost hunting team into a haunted location that has claimed the lives of others. The group consist of seven people. The host of the show who calls himself Captain (played by Ha-Joon Wi), the MC for the night Seung-Wook (played by Seung-Wook Lee), their camera man Sung-Hoon (played by Sung-Hoon Park), and then they got four others to join them for the night, Ji-Hyun (played by Ji-Hyun Park), Charlotte (my favorite – played by Ye-Won Mun), Ah-Yeon (played by Ah-Yeon Oh), and Je-Yoon (played by Yoo Je-Yoon). This movie follows a ghost hunting team into a haunted location that has claimed the lives of others.
They don’t believe that it’s the spirits that are causing the disappearances, so they are going there to debunk it. Everyone who has disappeared has done so during the time that they were attempting to open the cursed room, 402. Their goal is to live stream their hunt, gather 1 million viewers, and in the end, open room 402.
Yes, so much yes! I love this idea, so many things can go wrong and I loved watching it happen. Yes, we all know I’m twisted. What I loved the most about this movie, was how it really fucks with your mind. One minute, you are laughing, then the movie suddenly throws you into the dark messed up ghost realm. It gives you a false sense of security, which is what really built the fear for me. I let my guard down, and in turn, I almost had a panic attack during one of the scare scenes. Normally, this is something I would hate but, in this case, it was a welcomed event.
From what I hear, this is something that is commonly being using in Korean horror films. Therefore, I’ll be watching much more Korean horror to ensure that I scare the shit out of myself!
On another note, take a minute to just appreciate this camera angle. I know it might sound so small to some of you, but honestly, the use of this beautiful wide-angle shot during a ghost hunting investigation is perfect as it shows the viewer everything!
The movie did have a slow start up, having to wait almost an hour for things to really kick off. However, during that time, they did a great job allowing the audience to get to know the characters. Charlotte really stood out as my favorite because she was Korean American, which means that she would sometimes slip in English words. Her introduction alone made me giggle, as her voice stood out among the rest. As an American viewer, it almost embraced that false sense of security for me, because in a film based on subtitles, she felt like home. On top of that, her character endured a moment that scared the shit out of me. The whole time I was fussing at the screen and hyperventilating. It was beautifully creepy!
On the other hand, Captain really rubbed me the wrong way. Let’s be honest here, Ha-Joon Wi nailed his role, but dammit he forced me to both love him and hate him! One minute I’m thinking, wow this guy is gorgeous and super friendly, and the next I’m thinking, this guy is a chicken shit and a douche bag! As the host of the show, you would think that he would help everyone get the equipment from the car to the base camp and that he would be the first one in the building. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, he only carried a small camera while the crew carried the heavy boxes and he never planned on going into the building at all, he was set up in the tent outside the whole time. Come on, Captain!
Overall, Gonjiam Haunted Asylum turned out to be an awesome mix of Grave Encounters and House on Haunted Hill. Both of which I loved! It was as if they took all the great aspects of those movies and created something better. The idea of doing it all as a live stream was smart. However, the best part about that was that every now and then the video feed messed up. Doing that gives the feel of watching a real live stream, which was very immersive. I spent much of the movie worried that the ghosts would be cheesy, but the reveal was perfect.
This movie dripped True Fear! There is no need to ask that question. I was genuinely scared while watching the movie, and I’m looking forward to watching more movies like it. I highly recommend you all watch this! I found it on Amazon Prime for only $8. Please go buy it, enjoy, and tell me what you thought!