BiFan 2024 Review: IDIOT GIRLS AND SCHOOL GHOST: SCHOOL ANNIVERSARY, Lo-Fi Horror Comedy Lovingly Lampoons Far East Asian Horror Tropes

Contributor; Seoul, South Korea (@pierceconran)
BiFan 2024 Review: IDIOT GIRLS AND SCHOOL GHOST: SCHOOL ANNIVERSARY, Lo-Fi Horror Comedy Lovingly Lampoons Far East Asian Horror Tropes

Combining The Ring and the Whispering Corridors series, the giants of J- and K-horror, and stirring the pot with tongue firmly planted in cheek, the low-budget horror spoof Idiot Girls and School Ghost: School Anniversary lovingly pokes fun at the well-established conventions of Far East Asian ghost horror.

It begins with some grainy found footage of a trio of high school girls spending a freaky night in school on the night of the institution's anniversary. They must play a game of hide-and-seek with a ghost, and if they manage to not get caught before morning their reward will be perfect scores on their upcoming SATs. If they are caught, however, they will cease to be and all memory of them will evaporate, as if they had never existed.

Fast forward to the present and a new trio of girls, who are also stressing out about their upcoming exams. Ji-yeon has dreams of becoming a film director, Hyun-jung lifts weights to lug heavy cameras around and Eun-byul is an aspiring actress who diligently vlogs every moment of her day, despite having next to no subscribers.

Ji-yeon stumbles upon the aforementioned videotape, which in turn triggers a new wave of hauntings. Like it or not, she must endure the ghost's frequent apparitions until the school anniversary. The temptation of perfect scores proves very seductive for her two friends, who soon watch the tape as well. Before long they are also joined by Min-joo, an amateur shaman who is obsessed with Japanese culture to the point that she mostly communicates in very broken Japanese.

Together, the quartet prepares to take on the ghost during the game of hide-and-seek, which takes up the second half of the film.

While this new work from director Kim Min-ha makes some effort to produce real tension, most of its energy is spent on laughs, lampooning the done-to-death conventions of possessed objects and high school grudge spirits that have been so commonplace over the past 25 years.

Much like the Scream films, Idiot Girls and School Ghost is very meta in its exploration of genre tropes and these attempts at being self-referential succeed about as often as they fail. As the girls try to imagine solutions to their supernatural problems they stop and say things like "No that's the plot of another film".

While most of those throwaway lines land with a thud, what does work is when the film is being playful with the mechanics of creating tension in horror. The girls start figuring out how to stand up to the ghost by using the genre limitations of her specific antagonist type against her.

Idiot Girls and School Ghost varies quite significantly in tone and its simple story spins its wheels between its better moments during its airy 90-minute running time.

Fans of the comic stylings of Sadako vs. Kayako, the crossover horror-comedy of the Ju-on and Ring series, may find plenty to enjoy here, but the audiences most likely to get a kick out of the film will be the local crowds in BiFan, who will collectively delight at its affectionate ribbing of regional horror titans.

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horror spooJ-HorrorJu OnK-HorrorRinguThe GrudgeThe RingWhispering Corridors

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