The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Shudder] - LINGERING | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Shudder] - LINGERING

lingering shudder review
A young woman is menaced by a spirit in the hotel run by her late mother's friend.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Yoon Eun-kyoung

Starring: Lee Se-young, Park ji-young, Park So-yi, Seo Yeung-jo, Jeon Su-ji

lingering shudder poster

What's lingering most in writer/director Yoon Eun-kyoung's feature debut is the tangible aftertaste of the wave of Asian horrors that found global success in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yes, it's an another tale of a protagonist being spooked by the lank-haired ghost of a young girl. Your tolerance for Lingering will depend on how burnt out you've become on such tropes, as like so many recent Korean horrors, Eun-kyoung's film plays closer to the mediocre American remakes of classic K-horrors than the originals themselves.

lingering shudder review

Here it's a hotel that's being menaced by a straggly-haired spirit. After having her adorable little sister, Jiyoo (Park So-yi), rejected for a place at yet another orphanage, twentysomething Yoo-mi (Lee Se-young) decides to take up a longstanding offer of giving the child over to Kyeong-seon (Park Ji-young), her late mother's best friend and the owner of a hotel in her countryside hometown.

As soon as Yoo-mi arrives, things begin taking a sinister turn. The hotel's one off-season maid, Ye-rin (Park Hyo-joo), is constantly drunk and makes passive aggressive gestures to Yoo-mi. Figures appear in mirrors and the inky blackness of TV screens, only to disappear when Yoo-mi turns to confront their three-dimensional forms. Balls roll inexplicably down corridors. Room 405, where something terrible once occurred, appears to be ground zero for the hotel's brand of evil.

lingering shudder review

Like much recent K-horror, Lingering takes on the form of a procedural thriller as our protagonist conducts an investigation into her late mother's relationship with the hotel. This is where fans of more traditional horror fare may lose patience, as the movie begins to resemble an episode of a TV detective show, occasionally remembering to throw in the odd uninspired supernatural set-piece to keep us onboard. It's a struggle to stay invested in the plot as it's so run of the mill, and as Yoo-mi, Se-young is a stiff presence who seems incapable of displaying the sort of emotions you imagine someone in her place might experience.

Visually, cinematographer Lee Hyeong-bin provides Lingering with a darkly attractive facade, but his director doesn't seem an easy fit with the horror genre and fails to enliven his film's rote set-pieces. Much of the heavy lifting is left to the sound design, which will have you worrying that rats have gotten into your walls if you watch Lingering through a decent home cinema system.

lingering shudder review

Lingering belongs to the sub-genre of horror movies that take place in off-season resorts. It's a sub-genre that has given us the likes of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, Paul Bartel's Private Parts and this year's Make Up. It's generally a formula for success, as there's something inherently unsettling about the emptiness of usually bustling lobbies and corridors. It's a shame that Eun-kyoung can't exploit his premise as he opens his movie with a couple of effective sequences - a pre-credits set-piece in which a young girl is stalked through long grass and a cracking jump scare involving a rear view mirror - but ultimately he gets bogged down in a plot that fails to sufficiently grab our attention, and many viewers will likely check out early.

 is on Shudder from November 12th.

2020 movie reviews