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Film / The Red Shoes (2005)

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The Red Shoes (Hangul: 분홍신, Revised Romanization Bunhongshin) is a 2005 horror film written and directed by Kim Yong-gyun. Kim Yong-gyun was inspired by the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, where a vain stepdaughter could not stop dancing in her enchanted red shoes.

Set in Seoul, Sun-jae leaves her unfaithful husband and moves into an old apartment with her daughter, Tae-su. One night when Sun-jae is returning home, she finds a pair of red shoes in a subway car and takes them home, only to discover that they are cursed. Her obsession grows, arousing envy and greed with mysterious, nightmarish visions. Even Sun-jae’s daughter and one of her friends, Kim-mi Hee, fall victim to the power of the shoes, resulting in hysteria and theft of the shoes.

With help from her new boyfriend In-cheol, Sun-jae tries to discover the mystery behind the red shoes before it gets her and her daughter killed.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Agony of the Feet: Apparently taking the shoes lead to your legs being cut off.
  • Asshole Victim: Sun-jae's husband, later on Sun-jae herself.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Tae-soo. We later learn why, and it's not pleasant.
  • Demonic Possession: Both Sun-jae and Tae-Soo show this as the film goes on, fitting considering how their past lives were rivals.
  • Eye Scream: Sun-jae's friend gets her eye popped out, and The Reveal at the end shows that Sun-jae murdered her husband by jamming a stiletto heel into his eye.
  • Gainax Ending: Does Tae-soo actually die? Was Sun-jae influenced by the ghost to kill? Was there even a ghost to begin with?
  • Ghostly Goals: Keiko really wanted to make her rival Oki suffer for ruining her relationship, stealing her shoes and killing her baby. To the point of wanting to get back at her reincarnation, Sun-jae.
  • Gorn: Not used very often, but present in the opening train station scene, as well as a few of the death scenes.
  • Informed Attribute: The shoes are not actually red, just fuschia.
  • The Killer in Me: Sun-jae murdered her husband, her best friend, and even her boyfriend, and even tried to kill Tae-soo for knowing the truth that she killed her husband. Debated if it was her wanting to kill her for telling the truth or because of the legacy of Keiko and Oki.
  • Laughing Mad: Sun-jae, especially when she goes to kill Tae-Soo.
  • Mind Screw: Like you wouldn't believe it. Is it all a supernatural threat? Or is Sun-jae losing it due to murdering her cheating husband?.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: The film is presented through Sun-jae's perspective, and it's unknown if she's losing it or if the red shoes are the catalyst for the plot.
  • Twist Ending / The Reveal: Sun-jae murdered her husband for his infidelity and her best friend. She then murdered her boyfriend for knowing the truth and even was gonna kill Tae-soo for telling him the truth. In fact Tae-soo's bratty behavior is because she knew her mother killed her father. During a chase between them, we learn that Sun-jae and Tae-soo are in fact reincarnations of Keiko and Oki, two dancers, with Keiko being the owner of the titular shoes and Oki being her rival. Keiko basically gets her revenge on her rival's reincarnation, allowing Tae-Soo to live.
    • The End... Or Is It?: The film's credit ending shows an adult Tae-Soo finding the shoes, leaving more speculation..