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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 92 minutes, director/producer commentary, behind the scenes featurette, original theatrical trailer, and Tartan Asia Extreme previews

STUDIO: Tartan/ E Tube Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: 7-25-2006


CELLO is an effective movie that continues to screw with the mind of the main character further as the movie goes on. Mi-ju is a former cello player who is now a part-time music instructor with a husband and two kids. She is still disturbed by the death of a fellow student from her music school days. When a mute housekeeper is hired, strange things start to happen starting with the dog barking, Mi-ju's oldest daughter wanting to play the cello, and the death of her husband's sister. CELLO is an effective horror film, but the ending for me just makes me hate it. It just renders everything before it useless just like the ending of DONNIE DARKO did. Even a little twist at the end screams sequel, but it comes too late. The damage is done by the twist which was telegraphed at the beginning in a way, but it should have been part of the weirdness instead and not just loop back to it. Just like THE BOOTH, layers are peeled back and more is revealed about Mi-ju's past friendship with her dead friend. I just wish they did the ending differently and left it with the mind screw.

The music takes the film to another type of class of horror film. CELLO had me engaged. Still I hate what they did at the ending. It is one of the type of cop-out endings that I hate. Is CELLO one of the good horror efforts from South Korea? Yes. Better than some of the dreck coming out in the USA? Definitely. The director of the film reminded me of what if Italian horror director Dario Argento was Asian and tried to tell a story instead of being more style than substance.

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Image detail is great. Colors and blacks are good. Another good transfer from Tartan.

AUDIO: Korean 5.1 Dolby Digital, Korean 5.1 DTS, Korean 2.0 DS

Subtitles: English, Spanish

Surround action isn't bad and the music come across. Subtitles are easy to understand. An added bonus is the audio commentary also has a Spanish subtitle option for those who speak Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The audio commentary for CELLO is with Director Chul Woo and Producer Sung Do Park. It is an information packed commentary that describes the challenges of shooting it in 40 days, the actors only having a month to learn the cello (so they needed substitutes for some scenes), changes in the script, scenes they weren't happy with, and editing it down from 120 minutes to 93 minutes (I wish they had deleted scenes on this DVD). The behind the scenes featurette with the cast and crew drags a little bit, but you do see a couple of actresses learning the cello, the gore scenes, and a birthday party. Also included is the original theatrical trailer (but the TV spot listed on the back cover isn't here) and trailers of other Tartan Asia Extreme releases.

COVER ART: Fantastic and creepy.

FINAL ANALYSIS: CELLO in an interesting horror effort from South Korea which has an ending which left me cold, but maybe a second viewing will change my mind a little after listening to the audio commentary.

this review is (c)7-19-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com