I just finished watching a movie called Black Rat, in which six high school students get a text that appears to come from their dead classmate Asuka. She committed suicide, but now she apparently wants them to meet her at night in their classroom. TOTALLY A GREAT PLAN. Except the characters all show up, I guess for the same reason that in western horror movies they always go into the basement.

black rat

As events unfold, it turns out that Asuka wanted them to create a lasting shared memory by doing a special modern version of the rat dance for their cultural festival. She planned the choreography and made a large rat head (I spent half the movie wondering was that just a prototype and she was planning to make six more, or was just one of them going to be in rat costume). None of the others really wanted to except her best friend, so Asuka killed herself and now someone pretending to be her ghost is murdering the others one by one (in the school, at night, where they have so conveniently assembled).

I have watched so many movies with a similar plot (suicide because of bullying or just not fitting in) that I half believe Korea’s high schools must have a fantastic kill rate. I mean, deep down I know that can’t be true, but the movies have left me expecting Asian high schools to have hordes of ghosts.

These “I was unpopular so now you must die” plots rely heavily on the viewer being able to take the bullying seriously, but in this case, I felt more annoyed with Asuka for trying to guilt everyone into doing the dance. They had to be coaxed into agreeing; most of them made it perfectly clear they didn’t want to dance; killing them for non-participation just didn’t make me feel any sympathy for the whole “revenge” thing. The tacked-on additional motivation of a couple of breakups didn’t help, since none of the relationships ever came across as particularly serious or passionate.