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South Korea 2006
Director: Man-dae Bong
I must confess at the beginning of this review that I’m not totally sure why this film is called Cinderella. I can certainly make an argument for one or two possible explanations, but there’s nothing that stands out as a clear explanation. I was expecting a modern interpretation of the classic fairy tale but instead this Cinderella turned out to be another entry in the spectral avenger sub-genre of asian horror, albeit with some added depth and social commentary.
Cinderella starts well, with a strong modern gothic tone and lots of style but it falters somewhat through the middle. The film becomes too contemporary, too modern. I like a good mix of modern and gothic style, but in this case the bright, modern sequences water down the dark, creepy gothic atmosphere.
There’s a decent amount of depth to Cinderella, both in the performances and in the narrative. Plastic surgery plays a large part in the narrative and the film has strong opinions on the cost and nature of beauty. Along with this commentary, Cinderella also creates tension and horror through graphic scenes and descriptions of surgery.
In the end, however, Cinderella is an average entry into the rapidly-growing spectral avenger sub-genre. Will this film become the next Ringu or Ju-on? Probably not, but the interesting style and darkly unique subject matter helps separate Cinderella from the rest of the bunch.Colin Le Sueur