To Catch a Virgin Ghost begins very promisingly, as we are introduced to the Sisilli residents. When the Boss’ son decides to keep the diamonds from a heist all for himself while leaving his partner hanging, he believes he’s escaped with nothing but clear skies ahead. That is until fate leads him to the small village of Sisily. The people of Sisily seem friendly enough, but the village has a dark secret that comes to light when the gang Boss arrives in Sisily looking for his son and evil spirits are stirred into a tizzy when the gangsters take the village hostage.
The film is so energetic that you tend not to notice some clumsy set-ups and hurried executions. Classified as a horror film, I wouldn’t exactly call it that as it’s a mix of gangsters and ghosts film, which includes a tiny bit of love story. The actors play their roles convincingly, and do a good job with what they’re given. The script itself seems most at home during the first hour, and less so when the ghost subplot finally shows up. It’s strengths lay in it’s solid filming, quirky script and willing cast. It’s major flaw is that while it seeks to mix genre elements, it keeps itself from ever going very far in any direction.
I really enjoyed this flick. The comedy worked, and the characters were all unique and interesting. The comedy does not detract from the supernatural elements of the movie which are reasonably atmospheric. I know up front, the premise sounds ludicrous, but this is just another entry in a movie trying to have a good time without taking itself too serious. There is some toilet humor, but for the most part the film seems above lowbrow comedy.
South Korean movies always manage to fit in comedy in a lot of their mainstream films, and from most of the films I’ve seen they really know what they’re doing. That is the case here. First-time director Jeong-won Shin successfully combines action and comedy, with a dash of horror. With a successful mix of different genres and homage to such films like Evil Dead, this is yet another solid piece of South Korean cinema. If you’re looking for an entertaining Asian horror film, this is a good place to start. Interesting characters and good humor. Comes slightly recommended.