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Genius Products presents
Voice (2005)

ďThe ghost remembers only what it wants to.Ē
- Cho-ah (Ye-ryeon Cha)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: July 17, 2008

Stars: Ji-hye Seo, Ok-bin Kim
Other Stars: Ye-ryeon Cha
Director: Equan Choe

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (graphic violence)
Run Time: 01h:45m:09s
Release Date: July 15, 2008
UPC: 796019813709
Genre: foreign

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A AB+A- B-

DVD Review

For those of you who just canít get enough of the seemingly dying J-Horror craze comes 2005ís Voice. Released by Genius Entertainment in a DVD case that pulls no gory punches, this poorly-marketed horror film is actually the fourth installment of the series of Japanese films centering on high school girl ghost stories. The first three movies: Whispering Corridors, Memento Mori, and Wishing Stairs, were slow, unengaging pictures that are full of formulaic drivel, and light on plot and scares. Voice surprisingly breaks the mold, and, despite some horrible, inaccurate packaging, Geniusí DVD hits the mark and allows U.S. horror fans to finally discover this three-year-old gem.

Seon-min (Ji-hye Seo) and Young-eon (Ok-bin Kim) are best friends who are also in the same music class. When Young-eon stays after to practice singing, Seon-min offers to wait for her for a while, but soon decides that she should go ahead and get home. The next day, Seon-min realizes that her friend isnít at school, nor has she heard anything from her since the night before. Soon, Seon-min hears Young-eonís voice but canít see her, as the latter implores her still-living friend to go to any extreme to uncover the truth about what happened to her on that fateful night.

While I expected more of the same slow-moving, boring tales that the first three films in this series gave us, Voice turns out to be an amazing surprise. At first glance, it seemed like this would, indeed, be a languidly paced chore in not-very-spooky school girl ghost antics, but, about 10 minutes in, I realized that I was locked into this story and its characters. Resembling the look of old-school Dario Argento, the dark, extremely red cinematography adds a great deal to the pictureís overall effectiveness. Of course, the stellar young cast doesnít hurt matters either, with both of the main characters commanding our attention at all times, remaining believable, even among a bevy of unrealistic, supernatural elements.

This is really creepy stuff from beginning to end, but the scares donít stop when the screen fades to black at the end. Watch the end credit sequence, and youíll experience something just as terrifying, if not more so than the rest of the film. I donít want to elaborate on it, as itís really not effective until youíve experienced the film, and one of the characters in particular. Just trust that, like most of the film, you wonít see the unsettling nature of the end credits coming, as they only hammer home what is one of the biggest DVD surprises of the year.

Shame on Genius Products for not only calling this Voice instead of using its Japanese title, but also, what is the deal with the gross-out marketing on the DVD case?! The foreboding image of a bloody hand thrusting out of a womanís mouth is not only overly disgusting, even by most gore houndsí standards, but itís an image that appears nowhere in the film. There isnít even a hint of anything this gruesome appearing in the story, and by no means, is this a G-rated picture. Such shameless exploitation will both turn away people that might be interested in an atmospheric, extremely engaging ghost story like this, and, at the same time, only tease horror fans looking for a blood bath. Hereís hoping movie fans will research this picture a bit and check it out, despite the misleading DVD case....it more than deserves a wide audience.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The film is presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen, and the transfer is very clean, aside from a few appearances of grain and dirt. The mostly dark images are very detailed, with a great deal of sharpness in play. The color scheme is well-rendered, and, more importantly in this case, blacks and shadow levels are spot-on.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Koreanno

Audio Transfer Review: While the box boasts a Dolby Digital 5.1 track (another misleading aspect of the packaging), we actually only get a 2.0 option. Still, the track is very lively and dynamic, using the surrounds quite frequently to add to the dread and gloom of the proceedings. Thereís never a problem with the dialogue either, as it works in tandem with the music and spooky sound effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The only extras are the theatrical trailer for Voice and a 23-minute making-of piece that gives us some great on-set footage, as well as a look at the make-up and special effects, and some candid discussions with the cast.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

Voice is one of the bigger horror surprises in quite some time, but itís going to be a tough sell, based on the DVD packaging alone. The truly horrific image adorning the front of the box is a complete misrepresentation of the actual movie, which will stay with you long after the equally scary end credits roll. While Geniusí DVD fails miserably in the marketing department, it excels in the audio and video areas, adding a great making-of piece to an already excellent disc.


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