Film / White: The Melody of the Curse

"Can you feel me behind you? I'm gonna be white now. Can you see me behind you? I'm white."

"White: The Melody of the Curse" (Hangul: 화이트: 저주의 멜로디; RR: Hwaiteu: Jeojooui Mellodi, also known as White: Melody of Death) is a 2011 South Korean Horror film directed by Kim Gok and Kim Sung, centering on failed K-pop group Pink Dolls' ascension to icon hood.

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/whitethemelodyofthecurse2011poster.jpg
Theatrical Release poster, 2011.

After losing a televised competition to the largely more successful idol group Pure (played by actual K-pop group After School), the members of Pink Dolls move into a new studio to create their next hit, which will hopefully sky-rocket them to the top. Eldest member Eun-ju discovers a tape in the studio entitled "White", which turns out to be an old unreleased music video that her manager thinks might have the right moves and addictive tune to pave the way for the group's success. Since the rights to the song are unknown, the copyright issues are sidelined and their manager gives the okay for them to begin deconstructing the video for their next performance. They perform "White" on stage, becoming an overnight sensation and with the rise in popularity.

However, tensions begin to rise within the group as the desire to become "The Main" corrupts each member, and strange, horrifying things begin happening around the group. And there's something...something creepy, about the tape...

Notable for being an Affectionate Parody of the K-Pop World and industry, splashed with a healthy dose of Nightmare Fuel to shake things up. Oh, and having half the cast actually be in K-pop groups.

Cast Includes:
  • Ham Eun-jung as Eun-ju, the eldest member and former backup dancer.
  • Kim May Doni as Shin-ji, a talented dancer that cannot sing.
  • Choi Ah-ra as A-rang, the plastic-surgery addicted singer.
  • Jin Se-yeon as Je-ni, a singer terrified of hitting high notes.
  • Hwang Woo-seul-hye as Soon-ye, best friend of Eun-ju and vocal doubling singer.

White: The Melody of the Curse provides examples of:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Eun-ju realizes that the song is cursed, and tries fervently to prevent Pink Dolls from performing it in order to escape a terrible maiming that leads to death. What does she do once the rest of the members are out of the picture and she thinks she broke the curse? Proceeds to take credit for the song, emulates the "White" persona, and becomes an instant sensation overnight, conveniently overlooking the fact that the song has a body count and not making sure she won't be added to it.
  • Alpha Bitch: Jang Ye-bin is this in spades.
  • An Aesop: Serves as a cautionary tale about the price of fame, while doubling as thinly-veiled commentary about the K-pop industry itself.
  • Anyone Can Die: Teetering on the edge of total cast annihilation.
  • Arc Words: "I will be the Main."
    • It's getting hot...don't you think?
  • Artifact of Doom: The VHS tape.
  • Asshole Victim: Jang Ye-bin.
  • Attractive Zombie: Horribly, horribly averted.
  • Becoming the Mask: Eun-ju once she goes solo. She only answers to the name of "White", rather than Eun-ju, denies ever being a back-up dancer, and claims she wrote the song itself.
  • Big Bad: The ghost of the unnamed, bullied backup dancer.
  • Body Horror: Half of the movie might actually qualify as this trope.
  • Break the Cutie: Every. Single. Member. Of. Pink Dolls.
    • Also, the original "White" herself. That poor, poor girl.
  • Casting Couch: Je-ni, Shin-ji and A-Rang accuse Eun-ju of this once her solo career takes off.
    • Also implied to have occurred with the back-up dancer once she wrote "White" and wanted to use it in the group.
    • Seemingly played straight at one point when Eun-ju goes on a "date" with Mr. Choi - she doesn't want to but her manager basically bullies her into it.
  • Celebrity Paradox: After School performs their own song, "Bang!", as "Pure". However, After School is not mentioned anywhere in the credits, nor are they noticed as themselves in-universe.
  • Dies Wide Open: Eun-ju.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: An unnamed, bullied back-up dancer wrote the eponymous song found on the tape. This gets her held down by the other members of the group while Jang Ye-bin douses her face with corrosive acid, horribly disfiguring her.
  • Driven to Suicide: The original "White", the bullied back-up dancer.
    "Have fun being the main now, see how far you go with a face like that!"
  • Dyeing for Your Art: In-universe. Once it becomes apparent that Eun-ju has a solo career, she dyes her hair white.
  • Ear Worm: The eponymous song itself. The fact that it's cursed in-universe doesn't help any matters.
  • Everybody Dies: Strongly implied by the ending.
  • Eye Scream: A-Rang gets a healthy dose of this.
    • "White"'s eyes are completely white due to the corrosive acid blinding her.
  • Facial Horror: The alternate posters for the film qualify.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: "White" herself.
  • Genre Blindness: EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. Except maybe Soon-ye.
  • Genre Savvy: Soon-ye. Too bad it doesn't save her.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Jang Ye-bin's actions are solely responsible for the entire curse.
  • Ghostly Goals: "White" is a weak Type B.
  • Haunted Technology: The original recording of "White", in the form of a cursed videotape.
  • Idiot Ball: Don't plan on dropping it any time soon, do you Eun-ju?
  • Injury By Irony: The curse's modus operandi, honestly.
  • Jump Scare: So many.
  • Korean Pop Music: Well, duh.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Jang Ye-bin. Horrifically maim someone because you want to be the popular one and drive them to commit suicide? Don't be surprised when her ghost attacks you for singing her song and burns you alive.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: That super catchy, infectious song that launched Pink Dolls to the top? Yeah, it's a vaguely-disguised suicide note about killing yourself by drinking bleach. It's also cursed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Eun-ju finds the remains of a suicide note and mistakenly believes it was written by Jang Ye-bin. She goes and makes an offering at her grave, believing this breaks the curse, before cashing in on the song's popularity by way of a solo career. Turns out, she was actually the bad guy here, and the curse is still very much alive.
  • Misplaced Retribution: The song kills anyone who sings it to become famous.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Soon-ye listens to the original song and discovers that it isn't Jang Ye-bin singing.
  • The Scapegoat: Jang Ye-bin. She wasn't the creator of the curse. She was its first victim.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Or rather, a song.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Ringu (or, The Ring). The curse spreads through a song, but it's originally contained in a cursed videotape. Anyone who watches the tape in The Ring dies after seven days—anyone who sings White's song also dies.
  • The Stinger: The ending has Soon-ye singing karaoke, mourning the deaths of Eun-ju and her friends by singing in a booth alone and burning the original tape of the song, and the back-up dancer's suicide note in the trash. The next song queues up by itself, and on the screen it reads Next Song: "White." Because Soon-ye sang the doubling for Je-ni, it's strongly implied that the curse has come for her.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: With white hair, surprisingly.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Really, all of Pink Dolls. Eun-ju does everything in her power to convince them the song is cursed, but they refuse to listen and end up paying for it with their lives. Double points for Eun-ju herself, after ignoring everything that has happened due to the curse and taking the song as her own anyway.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Once Eun-ju decides to go full steam ahead with her solo career, she casts aside her friends and the people who helped her get there, taking credit for the song, choreography, and completely forsaking her past, causing her to alienate herself from Soon-ye.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Eun-ju. She incorrectly guesses that Jang Ye-Bin is White, and has her grave blessed while asking for forgiveness for using the song after it seriously injures almost all of the former members of Pink Dolls. This would have been fine, if Jang Ye-Bin was actually White...but it wasn't, and the curse still comes for Eun-ju.
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