AsianMovieWeb logo
Original Title:

South Korea 2005

Horror, Drama

Won Shin-yeon

Yoo Seon
Chae Min-Seo
Sa Hyon-Jin

Search AsianMovieWeb

The Wig

Story: After her chemotherapy Su-Hyun (Chae Min-Seo) is discharged from hospital. Her sister Ji-Hyun (Yoo Seon) takes care of her and tells her that she is cured, which is not the truth. To give her sister back her self-confidence, which is lacking because of her missing hair caused by the therapy, Ji-Hyun gives her a wig.
Since Su-Hyun wears the wig she does not only look better, but she is doing quite well physically, too. Ji-Hyun, however, notices that her sister starts to behave more and more oddly. Su-Hyun even tries to seduce her sister's ex-boyfriend.
When Ji-Hyun takes back the wig, Su-Hyun relapses and has to stay in hospital again. For Ji-Hyun it's obvious that the wig has a life of its own, over time changing Su-Hyun into another person.
Ji-Hyun goes on search of the origin of the hairpiece and discovers a terrible secret...

Review: Yeah, I'm serious, the movie is in fact about a haunted wig. When I first read about the movie I thought it's a bad joke. After that it came to my mind that maybe this could be a horror comedy. That would have been a welcome change and the film surely would have benefited from it. Unfortunately, first-time director Won Shin-yeon makes a big mistake. Despite the plot about a wig (and I have to emphasize it once more!) Won does take everything very seriously, and moreover he sticks to the old formula of Asian horror movies. The final outcome is a non-frightening horror movie, that at least manages to be somewhat solid.

The story is about two sisters, who are both victims of a hard fate. Su-hyun suffers from cancer and hasn't much time left. Ji-hyun, however, lost her voice in a car accident. Actually, the movie oftentimes is more of a drama than a horror movie, but this combination just doesn't work out in the end. This is mostly because all the characters are painfully shallow. We never get to know anything about the motivations of the several persons and even the interspersed flashbacks to the past, that happen to find their way into the film just too late for us to care anyway, seldomly bring new facts to light. This is most conspicuous when Ji-hyun tells that her sister isn't behaving the way she normally would. For the viewer this analysis remains absolutely incomprehensible as we don't know how Su-hyun is supposed to behave.

The side characters are also pretty odd. What's this all about concerning Ju-hyun's ex-boyfriend? Eventually, we get an explanation, but as everyone else this person is totally unimportant and meaningless. This is also one of the big sore points of "The Wig". Although the movie tries to play in the drama genre most of the time, it fails to present some sharply drawn characters. As a result, it is nearly impossible for the viewer to identify with the two sisters, not to mention to be able to suffer along with them.
Some positive remark has to be made about the fact that the protagonists actually bring forward the plot, but sadly that's not of interest as they appear to be wooden dolls... The more frustrating as the actors really try to give it their best, but the script doesn't provide them with believable characters...

Technically, "The Wig" is quite good. The picture is sharp and everything has a greyish touch which gives the film some well-done horror movie look. There is also some pretty nice camera work, but that's just not enough to outweigh the predictable story. I guess at least you have to be thankful that the makers didn't go for the "Ring"-formula in a too apparent way, which had to be feared concerning that the movie is about a wig.
No, there is no girl with long black hair, that let's our blood run cold, but... Well, to be honest, in the end it is the girl with the long black hair, but at least it's a little bit more subtle and different... Whatever, the resolving may be a little bit of a surprise for some viewers, but in the end it's the same old song.
Moreover, it's pretty astonishing (and strange at that) that the protagonists go on a search for the dark secret of the wig quite late, and get all the answers right away. This is disappointing and destroys everything that might be left of the suspense-thrill.

You expect of a horror movie to frighten you every now and then or at least give you some cheap thrill. Nothing like that with "The Wig", as I could keep the lights off all the time without having to turn around every time I hear an unusual sound which source was only in my head. There are some few shocking moments, but they are everything but original. The cat jumping out of a cabinet is the straw that breaks the camel's back - just ridiculous.
For those "The Wig" is the first Asian horror movie, there might be some frightening moments, but everyone who has a little bit of horror movie experience, can only smile at that.
Furthermove the way of storytelling is somewhat unfortunate. Meanwhile we are getting used to it, that there isn't always clear who is doing what and why in Asian movies, but concerning the storytelling "The Wig" oftentimes jumps from one point to another without actually providing us with more background knowledge. And when we find out later on that everything is rather simple, this way of storytelling gets the bitter taste of a cheap trick.

"The Wig" isn't frightening at all, despite some really bloody scenes, and the drama aspect can't convince us either. The ending is supposed to emotionally grasp us, but because of the shallow characters there is the same distance between the viewer and the events, that has been dominant all along.
With all the criticism one has to ask himself if "The Wig" is worth one's salt anyway. As a solid horror movie the film can keep you busy for 106 minutes. At least I wasn't bored that much, despite some undeniable lengths. However, you have to be aware, that the movie is in fact about a wig. Even though this might not be that ridiculous while watching, if you recall it, you can't help but to smile...

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
Buy this movie:

Yesasia Logo