Spellbound: Korean Movie Review

spellboundI’ve kept Spellbound on by backup TBW pile in case I was in the mood to watch something light and romantic but I never considered watching it a priority until it was announced that there was going to be a Filipino adaptation featuring my favorite loveteam James Reid and Nadine Lustre. Spellbound was a charming, entertaining tale but I don’t think this is the best comeback movie for JaDine after Never Not Love You.

Synopsis: Jo Go (Lee Min Ki) is a street magician who sees a rather sad looking woman named Yu Ri (Son Ye Jin) among the crowd in his magic show. Because of her gloomy aura, he suddenly gets inspired to produce a horror-themed magic act revolving around an exorcist magician. The pair agree to work together and the show becomes a success. A year down the line, Jo Go is still intrigued by this weird introvert and accidentally discovers that she is haunted the ghosts whose mission is to keep her single and lonely forever.

I liked Spellbound because it was light and simple, and for a horror romance, the special effects were top notch. I liked the easy progression of the love story of Jo Go and Yuri and their rather goofy personalities which come out when they are together. Jo Go acts like a hotshot when he is among his staff but when he is with Yuri, his cowardly side comes out as well as his sweet and romantic side. I love that he risked everything to be with her even though 99 percent of the time, he was afraid of what would happen with the ghosts.

Son Ye Jin was the definite star of this movie. She is an amazing actress and can just about sell anything for any role. This time was no different. She makes audiences feel the loneliness of her character, her innocence and her heartbreak, many times over. I cried many times throughout the movie because I just felt too sorry for her, especially when she shares her sadness with her friends or when she is rejected because of the ghosts. Audiences can’t help but to root for Yuri and step into her shoes. How sad would it be to be isolated from everyone, only to come home to a house full of ghosts who treat her like an errand girl, seeking justice for their untimely deaths.

spellbound-gifSpellbound had a strong supporting cast but they were merely backdrops in a stage set for the tandem of Lee Min Ki and Son Ye Jin to shine, but that’s completely okay. Audiences get to watch their strong chemistry as they explore tentative steps to liking and eventually falling in love with each other. I actually felt like the two hours sped by but I still wanted to see more. With a bit of tweaking, this story could have actually made a good full-length Kdrama.

Spellbound is not without its faults though. I felt like the resolution to Yuri’s ghost problem should have been explored more and given more closure since it was the central conflict of the movie. I also felt that after a very emotional scene between Jo Go and Yuri towards the end of the movie, it was awkward to end on such a light note as if the last few minutes of the movie didn’t happen.

All in all, Spellbound is a cute and entertaining tale delivered very well by a competent and charismatic cast. Its a rom-com dosed with just the right amount of horror to deliver a different concept and a fresh take on the genre.

PS.

Spellbound and JaDine. As I was watching, I had an eye out for the characters and imagined James as Jo Go and Nadine as Yuri. I’ve seen JaDine portray different roles but I just can’t imagine seeing them step into these characters. Its going to be a challenge but I have no doubt this love team with deliver on the romance angle. I hope the adaptation gives them an opportunity to shine.

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