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Film / White: The Melody of the Curse

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"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.

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. Justified, as the curse clearly transferred itself to her after she and Soon-ye went to Ye-bin's gravesite (as evidenced by Ye-bin's photo being damaged after they leave).
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Jang Ye-bin regularly bullies trainees she deems unworthy and tells them not to stand out, then pours acid on one girl's face while cheerfully telling her "How does being the main vocalist feel? Let's see how far you go with that ugly face now... I told you not to stand out!"
    • Je-ni and A-rang count, the two are nasty to both Shin-ji and Eun-ju, with A-rang saying to Eun-ju at one point:
    "There are only two kinds of people who go to sponsors, desperate trainees who want to be famous and washed up old has-beens who are past their expiration date like you."
  • An Aesop: Serves as a cautionary tale about the price of fame, while doubling as thinly-veiled commentary about the K-pop industry itself.
  • Arc Words: "I will be the Main."
    • Any mention of "hot" - "It's getting hot... don't you think?"
  • Attractive Zombie: Horribly, horribly averted. Having an acid-burned face and being covered in the blood you vomited after drinking bleach will do that to you.
  • 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.
  • Casting Couch: 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.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: While driving through a tunnel, the ghost is seen appearing behind Eun-ju in the fan and slowly drawing nearer to her, only to disappear once they hit sunlight again.
  • 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!"
    • Also, everyone in Pink Dolls with the exception of Eun-ju. Je-ni, Shin-ji and A-rang all drink bleach on national television and commit suicide following Eun-ju breaking into a solo career and their various injuries from the curse.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: In-universe. Once it becomes apparent that Eun-ju has a solo career, she dyes her hair white.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: 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.
  • Foreshadowing: The camera will frequently focus on bottles of bleach, which is what the trainee drank to commit suicide and what she forces A-rang, Shin-ji and Je-ni to drink.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: "White" herself.
  • Genre Blindness: EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. Except maybe Soon-ye.
  • 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.
  • Injury By Irony: The curse's modus operandi, honestly.
    • Je-ni (insecure about hitting high notes) is attacked in the music booth and forced to overdose on her medicine and sing the notes over and over again up until they become a scream of terror. She is then nearly choked to death by a microphone cable and vomits her medicine all over the window.
    • A-rang (addicted to plastic surgery) is first attacked backstage, where she hallucinates the cosmetics she's applying to her face are actually made of human blood. She then goes onstage and begins to bleed from the eyes before two rotting hands emerge from the back of her head and claw at her face, causing her to fall off the stage and land on her face.
    • Shin-ji (dancer who cannot sing but can rap) is attacked in the practice room, where the ghost first possesses her and forces her to dance in jerky, erratic movements, then attacks her again later that night. She is then nearly crushed beneath a crane while attempting to film a reality show, with the ghost staring at her from the top of the crane.
    • Eun-ju (back-up dancer who fears she will never be famous) is manipulated into becoming an egotistical bitch once she is the only one left (and after she makes an offering to Jang Ye-bin who turns out to have been the one who caused the ghost's Start of Darkness, understandably pissing her off even more). She is then possessed during her first solo performance, made to watch her manager and sponsor be murdered in front of her and then is trampled to death by panicking fans.
  • Jump Scare: So many.
  • Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Ye-bin deserved every moment of terror and agony she suffered from burning to death after she not only bullied and mutilated the nameless trainee by pouring acid on her face, but also watched her committing suicide while grinning victoriously.
  • 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.
  • Mirror Monster: If you look carefully at the screen behind Shin-ji right before she drinks the bleach, you can clearly see the ghost's face.
  • Mirror Scare: The ghost does this (and combines it with Mirror Monster) to Shin-ji while she is practicing late at night.
  • Misplaced Retribution: The song kills anyone who sings it to become famous. Heavily implied at the end to have also extended itself to anyone who sings it at all, as Soon-ye discovers when the karaoke machine somehow triggers itself to play "White".
  • 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 Ye-bin was actually the bad guy here, and the curse is still very much alive.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Soon-ye listens to the original song and discovers that it isn't Jang Ye-bin singing. She gets another one when she realizes the ghost is the trainee Ye-bin mutilated and drove to suicide.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Invoked. The Pink Dolls, at the start, were a cutesy and very feminine girl group that wasn't making any money. After they perform "White", their image eschews the pink and frills while they go for a sexier and more aggressive style, which really ramps up their popularity. Note that this isn't a good thing, per se, since it's combined with Ambition Is Evil and the total destruction of their group.
  • 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.
  • 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 ghost and her 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. Also applies to Eun-ju herself, after she is hit by the curse and refuses to listen to Soon-ye's warning that it is still active, leading to her death.
  • 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. Comes with being cursed - each of the other members acted similarly during their turn.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The original "White".
  • 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.