Death Bell

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  • Movie: Midterm Exams: Blood (literal) / Death Bell (international English title)
  • Revised romanization: Gosa: Piui Jungkan Gosa
  • Hangul: 고사: 피의 중간고사
  • Director: Chang
  • Writer: Kim Eun-Kyung, Chang
  • Producer: Kim Kwang-Su, Lim Seong-Bin, Hong Jung-Pyo
  • Cinematography: Heo Seong-Ryong
  • Release Date: August 7, 2008
  • Runtime: 88 min.
  • Genre: Horror / Thriller
  • Distributor: SK Telecom
  • Language: Korean
  • Country: South Korea

Plot

On the eve of the dreaded university entrance examinations, the lives of 24 of the smartest and brightest students at one high school, are on the line. Locked inside a classroom and nowhere to escape, a television monitor broadcasts a terrified Hae-yeong, the top student at the high school, tied up and seated on a chair inside an aquarium that slowly begins to fill with water. A voice from the monitor announces if the 24 cannot finish the exam administered within the allotted time given, Hae-yeong will die and so will everyone held captive inside the classroom. Thus begins the examination that will determine whether they live or die.

Notes

  1. Related titles:
    1. Death Bell 2 | Gosa 2 (2010)

Cast

Death Bell-Nam Gyu-Ri.jpg Death Bell-Kim Beom.jpg Death Bell-Lee Beom-Su.jpg
Nam Gyu-Ri Kim Beom Lee Beom-Soo
Yi-Na Kang Hyeon Hwang Chang-Ok
Death Bell-Yun Jeong-Hee.jpg Death Bell-Lee Chae-Won.jpg Death Bell-Moon Woong-Ki.jpg
Yun Jung-Hee Lee Chae-Won Moon Woong-Ki
Choi So-Yeong Uhm Ji-Yang Kim Hyung-Jin

Additional Cast Members:

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Comments

THat One That One girl who keeps Screaming

phantomofthekpop My favourite K-horror movie of all time!! :D

Tarawowz Additional cast :Yang Jiwon(SPICA)--Min Hye-young

Neri I love This Movie~

Joshua This film was compared to Dario Argento,s Terror At The Opera.Death Bell is a Horrifying-like Giallo Film

Ki This is just hearsay, so take it with a grain of salt, but an acquaintance of mine told me that "Blood Bell" was hastily put together to take advantage of the fact that there were no other Korean horror movies slated to be released in the summer of 2008. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I can say with certainty that "Blood Bell" is one remarkably stupid film, regardless of its origins. Storywise, the film takes elements from "Battle Royale" & "Saw," and adapts it into a Korean high school setting. The screenwriters were obviously lazy or talentless (the typical puzzle in Blood Bell involved rearranging the letters) and actors seemed to know only two ways to perform their roles: stiffs or over-acting hams.

In "Blood Bell" 30 or so of the brightest students at an unnamed South Korean high school are assembled together on a Saturday afternoon. They've come to prep for an upcoming school event, but are about to endure the shock of their lives.

While watching a lesson on an overhead television set, the program suddenly switches over to a live feed of a girl in a water tank. That girl is their fellow classmate. Hye-young (the highest ranked student at their school). A voice then blares out of the P.A. system, instructing the students that they are about to take a new test. Wrong answers will result in their classmates' deaths. They are also instructed not to leave the campus or they will die as well. The phone lines have been taken out and cellphone reception has been disabled. The first question is now about to be given ....

I'll admit the premise has some promise, even with its liberal use of "Battle Royale" and "Saw" elements. Unfortunately, once the meat of the story begins the movie nosedives into an abyss no man or woman should want to venture into. About the only positive you can say about "Blood Bell" (post introductory moments) is that the movie does feature a few unnerving camera shots that are as haunting as it is visually stimulating.

While "Battle Royale" and "Saw" has been mentioned as obvious influences for "Blood Bell" another movie should also be mentioned. That would be the 1999 South Koran high school horror film/lesbian romance film "Memento Mori." Visually, quite a number of scenes from "Blood Bell" recall "Memento Mori" (the two school girls playing around the laundry line / the bloodied body falling onto the auditorium floor). Also, the revenge theme found in "Memento Mori" also appears heavily in "Blood Bell." Unfortunately, what made Memento Mori a great film -- well written characters & top-notch cast -- are sorely lacking in "Blood Bell".

"Blood Bell" does feature well known Korean actor Beom-su Lee appearing in his first ever straight horror film. Beom-su Lee plays the likable Korean teacher and he's OK in his role. The students are a far more mixed bag. The psycho-boy roaming the halls in his pj was the most annoying performer out of the lot but he had a lot of competition. Also, the movie continually breaks logical faux-pas' to make the story work. When the students first learned of their situation they collectively made a run for the exits but stopped at the glass door when they saw one of their teachers bloodied and near death just outside the door. In reality, this would probably have caused the students to run even faster through the exit doors, but in this case, the students headed meekly back to their classroom. (Duh). Secondly, the viewer must believe the perpetrator somehow completely knocked out cellphone reception at the high school. (Perhaps he used an invisible force field to repel cellphone tower signals?). The movie also used the "Hey guys, I'm going...but I'll be right back!" shtick every time a victim is needed.

I guess if you haven't watched "Battle Royale," "Saw," or "Memento Mori," you could believe "Blood Bell" is better than it really is just because of that snazzy premise. But for the curious let me warn you that even with the movie's decent outline, the filmmakers just ran the film into the ground with its shoddy screenplay, poor casting, and ultimately bad film making decisions. The film gets dumber by the minute and finishes off with a surprise twist that's as necessary as a bottle of soju is at an AA meeting. "Blood Bell" is a turd packaged in a nice wrapping.


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