Contains enough scares to keep horror fans happy

by Nav Qateel

Cherry invites new girl Annie to join her close-knit group of college friends. It’s not long before Annie becomes popular, with one boy in particular showing an interest, however Nana becomes jealous because she’s been after the same boy for a while. After bad things appear to happen within the group since Annie joined them, a fiercely jealous Nana decides Annie is behind it. Nana persuades the rest of the group to use a Chinese Ouija implement that involves two people holding a pen over paper, supposedly allowing a spirit to channel through them and write answers to questions. It all ends with Annie leaping off a roof to her death while Cherry watches on in horror. Two years later, everyone has moved on with their lives, some doing better than others. After Cherry receives a surprise visit from Nana, who just returned from America, the group start dying off. Has Annie’s cursed ghost come back to take revenge?

Bunshinsaba 2
Written & Directed by
Byeong-ki Ahn
Cast
Xin Zhilei, Park Han-byul, Zhang Haoran
Release Date
Out Now
Nav’s Grade: C+


South Korean horror director Byeong-ki Ahn was the first of his kind to move to China and ply his trade in the lucrative movie market, and so far he’s done very well for himself. It’s allowed the director to knock out remakes of his slightly older films, only this time using a Chinese cast to perform the parts. Director Ahn has also brought over most of his old Korean crew to work on Bunshinsaba 2 and also part 3. Bunshinsaba 3 has just had its release in China, where it’s doing very well.

While much of the style is very much standard Asian horror fare, the quality is also up to the high standard we’ve come to expect from experienced filmmakers like Ahn. The director got just enough out of his performers with many of the cast relatively inexperienced. The cinematography was well handled as was the score, both helping to elevate the material.

Bunshinsaba 2 is perhaps best described as a psychological thriller than a straight up horror, but to explain further would spoil the fun of finding out why this group of friends are dying and what the big secret is they’re keeping. One thing the story is guilty of is having too much going on with much of it feeling unnecessary. For example, we get to see a very young Annie several times during the proceedings in various flashback scenes, but for the most part they don’t end up taking us anywhere. Was this Ahn attempting to deliberately throw off the audience with a bit of red herring action? I doubt it. Only one part of Annie’s old arc actually really mattered, leaving the rest feeling rather extraneous. It’s almost like it started off as an idea the director had but then for whatever reason, decided to abandon it.

Overall, the acting was generally good, with one or two of the cast forcing it. But, of course, that could have simply been down to a lack of experience. Ahn’s direction was such that Bunshinsaba 2 felt well-paced and he delivered enough scares to keep horror fans reasonably happy. There wasn’t much in the way of CGI, however there was some clever use of the onryo ghost that would pop up to scare us at just the right places. Bunshinsaba 2 is very much a basic, no-nonsense Asian horror that delivers where it counts and is sure to please fans of the genre.