Death Bell (2008): Movie Review

Death Bell Movie Review
Review by Colleen Wanglund, MoreHorror.com

Directed by Yoon Hong-seung DEATH BELL (2008) was the only horror film released in Korea that year. Its Korean title GOSA refers to the yearly exams that all high school students must take and pass in order to advance in school. The movie is about a group of elite high school students who are chosen to participate in a special class to prepare them for college entrance exams.

The first day of classes is not what they expected. After two students are attacked the TV in their classroom pops on to show the top ranked student Hye-yeong trapped in a fish tank filling with water. A voice tells the class that they must answer questions correctly or she will die. The students and their two teachers realize that they are being taken in order of their class rank and for every question they get wrong another student will die. Who is killing the students and why? Talk about stress from exams!

This is a Korean horror film so it does have the requisite female ghost. That said, this is not a ghost story. A student at a time is taken and placed into a life-or-death position. If the questions aren't answered correctly, and in a timely manner, they die. They are also tortured along the way, which are nice and gory but I wouldn't put it to the level of torture-porn that is the SAW franchise or HOSTEL.

The movie is well done and the acting is very good, especially the two lead teens. The early set-up is fairly straight forward but once the movie gets into scenes of torture and death it becomes pretty inventive. The story works and doesn't give anything away too soon.

I was pleased with the surprises toward the end because I hate predictable movies. However the reveal of who and why wasn’t as interesting as the rest of the movie. There's a really cool sequence during the closing credits that you should watch, though it's not absolutely necessary to the story. There's plenty of gore and suspense to please most horror fans. I'm an Asian horror fan in general, but this is one of the better ones I've seen. It's definitely worth the watch.

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