HELLO GHOST Writer-director Kim Young-Tak flips the script hard in the third act of Hello Ghost (a megahit in Korea), transforming an overlong, somewhat predictable tale into a moving tearjerker. When the chronically suicidal Kang Sang-man is revived (yet again) in a hospital, he quickly discovers that he’s picked up a quartet of ghosts – a chain-smoking middle-aged man, a horny grandfather, an endlessly crying woman, and a precocious kid – who can’t be shaken until he helps them achieve a last wish. The ghosts inhabit Sang-man’s body, putting him through wanly comedic paces and allowing lead actor Cha Tae- Hyun (handsome, appealing) to mug through set pieces that tend to drag. A love interest sub-plot involving a nurse with a heart of gold sets the stage for director Kim’s big pay-off, which is commentary on the nature of families – those we’re born into and those we choose or that seem to choose us. A tongue-in-cheek nod to contemporary Asian horror/ghost stories seems meant to suggest that the true horrors we endure are those of loneliness and isolation. When Kim disrupts his meandering tale with a shocking act of violence that triggers a rush of epiphanies, he pulls off a sleight of hand that re-contextualizes his film’s weaknesses and milks the viewer’s tear ducts. (Ernest Hardy) (CGV Cinemas)
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