Bunshinsaba (2004) is a Korean ghost movie in which the title refers to a sort of Asian style Ouija.  The protagonist, a schoolgirl, curses her classmates via bunshinsaba for bullying her.  Then those classmates die in the same way that another schoolgirl died 30 years ago.  Secrets of the village are gradually revealed.

Given that most ghost stories do not make sense or are unoriginal, the story in this one can be considered to be very good.  Some camera angles are very unique and elevate the horror.  However, during the climax, it feels like a non-supernatural slasher movie than a ghost movie, because the ghost appears on screen for too much time, and uses human methods (instead of any supernatural power) to harm others.  Generally this is still above average.

The Korean director went to China and made 筆仙 (Bunshinsaba) (2012) that uses Chinese actors and speaks Mandarin instead of Korean.  In spite of the same title it is not a remake of his own 2004 movie.  Its story is totally unrelated to the predecessor.  In fact, the bunshinsaba technique is completely absent from the movie, other than the misleading poster – the official explanation is that in this movie, writing the horror fiction causes it to materialize.  This is unacceptable because it abandoned the meaning of the classic term 筆仙 and changed it to something unrelated.

Anyway, this version becomes a haunted house movie.  A mother and her son moves in to a haunted house.  The son sees supernatural stuff, but the mother does not believe him for a long time – this is a joke because the mother is a horror fiction writer, so of all people she should have believed him.  The children are also annoying, which I hate.  The son gave contradictory pieces of information to different people for no good reason, other than to confuse the audience and keep the story going.  Eventually it comes to a twist which is really unusual, but it does not make sense completely if we consider what happened before that, e.g. the tree scene.  I think this is merely average, but it was well received in China, so it got a sequel.

筆仙 II (Bunshinsaba 2) (2013) is again a Chinese movie directed by the same Korean director.  Again, this story has nothing to do with the previous two movies.  It introduces a bunshinsaba scene unnecessarily, so as to make the title more relevant.  A schoolgirl is considered to bring misfortune to people around her, got bullied then committed suicide.  Years later, the classmates who bullied her are haunted by the ghost of the dead girl.

Up until the twist, the movie is acceptable even if unoriginal.  However, the twist destroys the movie and it becomes a nonsense.  So, in the Bunshinasba series, every new movie is worse than the previous one.  I’m not hopeful about 筆仙 III (Bunshinsaba 3), scheduled to be released in 2014.

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