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      Muoi: The Legend of the Portrait

      2007 1h 34m Horror List
      Reviews 55% Audience Score 250+ Ratings Yun-hee travels to Vietnam to research a local legend and gets drawn into evil plans. Read More Read Less

      Critics Reviews

      View All (1) Critics Reviews
      Steve Biodrowski Cinefantastique More technically proficient than inspired, this elegantly crafted Korean horror film is a beautiful pastiche that exploits the power of familiar genre elements but does not equal the masterworks it emulates. Rated: 2/5 Mar 8, 2016 Full Review Read all reviews

      Audience Reviews

      View All (24) audience reviews
      Audience Member Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait (Tae-yong Kim, 2007) I swear up, down, and sideways that I first watched Muoi: The Legend of a Portrait when I was hospitalized almost a year ago. A couple of days later when I was updating the list, I looked at the poster and synopsis and realized I didn't remember a blessed thing about the movie, so I removed it. I got round to watching it last night, and that was a good decision; if I did watch it, I didn't remember a single thing about it. I also distinctly remembered giving it three stars (which makes me think I may, in my dilaudid-fueled hospital haze, have been mixing it up with Gidam, which did get three stars, and which I watched on January 15th, a week before leaving the hospital); this watch puts it much closer to Ryeong, the other Tae-yong Kim movie I've seen (Ryeong was his first, Muoi, three years later, his second). Considered (according to Wikipedia) the first post-Saigon Vietnamese horror film (while Tae-yong Kim is Korean, most of the film was shot on location in Vietnam), Muoi concerns the trials and travails of Yoon-hee (My Little Hero's An Jo), a Korean author suffering from writer's block. (Is there any author ever portrayed in a movie who isn't?) Her last book, a semi-autobiographical tale called Secrets and Lies, lost her most of her friends, but once day she gets a call from Seo-yeon (Voice's Ye-Ryeon Cha), who it turns out has been living in Vietnam for some years now, and so may not have read the book. She floats the idea of Yoon-hee coming to stay with her for a while and, upon hearing of Yoon-hee's problems, mentions the story of Muoi, a Vietnamese ghost whose tale is just begging to be told. Yoon-hee heads off to Vietnam, the two of them hook up, and Yoon-hee gets down to researching-but she soon discovers that most everyone she talks to is reluctant to give her any information, fearing they will bring the wrath of Muoi down upon themselves. This is not helping her writer's block any. Neither are those strange noises, nor the things she keeps just almost seeing out of the corner of her eye... I wouldn't necessarily call Muoi a bad movie, but I would certainly go far enough as to say it's mediocre in the worst way. Everything about it is competently done; it is well-acted, decently-directed, with cinematography and lighting teams who are experienced and good at their jobs, the soundtrack is effective if generic, etc., etc. Thus we get to the real sin of omission: if you had assembled a team this good to make a movie, why didn't you even try to do something with even a single facet of originality? This is completely faceless work, just another horror movie that looks and feels like hundreds of other movies like it. If that's what you're looking for, Muoi is certain to take the edge off...but that's all it will do. ** Rated 2 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Audience Member A typical horror movie without being cliche. I enjoyed it. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/12/23 Full Review Audience Member The problem with this movie is that most of the spooky happenings are dismissed quickly as "just a dream" or figment of the imagination. Or what will happen is that the main character, Yoonhee will see a ghost, be losing her mind - and then someone enters the room - and suddenly the ghost disappears and Yoonhee is pretty much fine. The spooky stuff has zero stamina. Nothing compared to a great horror movie like Pulse or Ju-On --- where the appearances and effects of the ghosts are lasting and real for the characters and plot as a whole. But it is a great performance by Ye-ryeon Cha, who plays Seoyeon. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 02/16/23 Full Review Audience Member One line summary: Writer works off her guilt over trashing a friend in her last book. -------------------------------------------------------- Yun-hui travels from Korea to Vietnam to learn about the legend of a painting of a woman named Muoi. Seo-yeon meets her there, and guides her regarding the legend. The two women have some sort of past but have not seen one another for three years. Seo-yeon explains the Muoi story in brief while walking in the places where it happened. Muoi was born of low parentage, but managed to attract an artist who took time to paint her portrait. Unfortunately, he was engaged to a rich, vindictive woman, and had to return to her. Muoi's rival came to her while he was gone, and had Muoi's legs broken; she also threw a pint or so of acid on Muoi's face. When the artist tried to see Muoi, she would not see him because of her damaged face, and subsequently hung herself over the loss. The story goes that she became a grudge ghost because of the unresolved anger and desire for vengeance. Yun-hui takes this in. With more details and embellishments, she hopes to write a bestselling book. Seo-yeon hands her a batch of old papers, photographs, and notes that she had collected for Yun-hui. Yun-hui starts through the stack; Seo-yeon starts a large painting. Through some machinations, they get to see a copy of a painting of Muoi. Just after this, Yun-hui tells Seo-yeon that she had already seen a painting of Muoi. When she tries to show the photo to Seo-yeon, the camera had only a blank. Seo-yeon tells Yun-hui that there was no painting there; it had to have been that Muoi's ghost. Yun-hui dreams about Seo-yeon confronting her about how she had libelled Seo-yeon in her last book. Oi, this films seems to be much more about Yun-hui's guilt about writing ill of Seo-yeon in her previous book than anything else. The two women have a confrontation about the book, and Yun-hui decides to return to Korea. Before she goes, Seo-yeon tells her of how a woman had commissioned three men to rape her while her boyfriend filmed it. This was why Seo-yeon left Korea, never to return. Yun-hui did not know about this. The two make nice. Seo-yeon has some sort of problem overnight, and Yun-hui goes to a temple to find out more about the case. The temple seems to have a lot of Muoi artifacts. This is the point where the film really gets creepy. It proceeds quickly to a grim and thorough conclusion. -------Scores------- Cinematography: 10/10 Fine. Sound: 10/10 No problems. Acting: 7/10 A little uneven but mostly good. Screenplay: 9/10 Comes to a reasonable conclusion given the build up. Special Effects: 7/10 Reasonable. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member I loved this film, it was shocking and quite fun Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/24/23 Full Review Audience Member Good horror movie with ambient creepiness and pretty good storytelling. One of the very few grudge-ghost villains that is sympathetic. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/15/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      Movie Info

      Synopsis Yun-hee travels to Vietnam to research a local legend and gets drawn into evil plans.
      Kim Tae-kyeong
      Kim Tae-kyeong, Ji Seong-won
      Production Co
      Popcorn Film, Bily Pictures
      Original Language
      1h 34m