A young woman in a society where beauty is very important has a mother who is insistent on her beauty regimen. Her mother is a plastic surgeon. The young woman get’s plastic surgery and is then haunted. Hmmm, wait, no it does get better. The plot of Cinderella is for the first half pretty standard stuff, and moves along quite slowly, with Hyeon being strangely oblivious to her mother having more than a few screws loose. Really good movies in general have you sympathize with the characters and become genuinely interested in the happenings of their lives. Cinderella lacked this sense of depth. Although many of these developments never really make much sense, especially after a needlessly ambiguous climax, they certainly make for engaging viewing.
I ultimately did become emotionally moved by the plight of the two girls, though that was largely due to the incredibly tragic storyline. In this tale of Cinderella, let me make it clear that there are no singing mice or wicked stepsisters, there’s no fairy-godmother or pumpkin chariot. Most asian horror films reveal why the story is happening towards the end. This film is more mysterious and you still have questions in the end. It goes heavy on the sudden frights, but there’s very little gore for the hardcore horror buff.
I’ll admit that I like my horror films to be a lot more bloody and disturbing than most people, but even occasional horror fans may find themselves bored and almost certainly confused by the plot of Cinderella. There’s a social commentary prevalent and mostly well managed throughout the film that observes the pressures put on high school girls, and women in general, to succeed based on physical beauty. I only wish the horror elements were as well done as the character and commentary elements are. Like most Tartan Asia Extreme films, it has a visual advantage over thrillers from other areas of the Far East. Its images are rich in detail with broad colors, and its cinematography unnaturally graceful.
Not a classic, but a worthy addition to any K-Horror library. While many critics are quick to point out the somewhat repetitive pattern that Asian horror has indulged in over the last few years, there is still more darkness in the human mind and spirit to yet be explored by these innovative filmmakers. In the few key scenes where gore is present, it is done so in a pointed fashion; slashes to the face, missing flesh, such imagery not only means to disturb but also comment on one of the film’s themes, the pursuit of physical beauty and its associate price. This was very, very interesting to me, and although I didn’t jump, scream, or hold on to anything for dear life, I did find myself satisfied when the credits rolled.