Seen in Jeonju

Coma 5: Doctor Jang Seo-won (2005)

10th January 2010

coma 5Originally posted May 17, 2009–This is the final chapter of a five part series. If you are reading this after all the reviews have been posted, you might want to go down and start with episode one.  There are some spoilers in these but I am trying to avoid ruining the film for anyone who decides they want to track down the DVDs.

We learn more about what Doctor Jang was up to in this episode. He seems less like a lunatic now than an obsessed researcher…what we might have called a ‘mad scientist’ if this was a B-movie. He doesn’t believe that So-hee saw heaven when she had her near-death experience. He believes it was a chemical reaction in her brain to take away pain and erase her fear of dying. If he can find which chemicals are responsible then he can administer it to terminal patients. His plan would “allow one to see heaven without having to die.”  Well…it’s good to have a goal in life…

Jang experiences a mnor haunting in his car that somehow makes him wind up back at the hospital again and sends him back into several flashbacks of how various patients started seeing an angry ghost in his operating room and how the hospital staff held a failed exorcism to drive the spirit away. As a last recourse, they seal the operating theater.

Jang walks through the hospital and discovers the unconscious Yeong, from the first chapter.  The man we saw in his own memories with noble causes disappears and the Dr. Jang we see in Chapter 4 returns in full lunatic mode.  Yeong, who has finally discovered in full detail what has happened to her sister, must avoid both the doctor and the thing haunting the hospital if she is to survive.

Conclusions to horror films are often disappointing, especially ones that succeed in building up a good story with so much potential. However, in the final chapter, all the potential is lost. It falls into pretty much a standard horror/serial killer format. Even worse, chunks of film involving the ghost of Hye-yeong could have been swiped frame for frame from either Ring or Juon–for about fifteen minutes I could have sworn that I was watching one or the other of those films. Sorry Director Kong, I saw those films already. They were scary once–but not rehashed.

What a shame–The first two episodes are quite good. The third took a different tone, but in its own way was not bad. Episode four gave us a ghost back but somehow, with the revelations about Dr Jang in that film, limited the outcome of the final. I personally think that my earlier idea that he was experimenting with the afterlife ala Jacob’s Ladder, might have been more interesting.   A disappointing, predictable end what could have been a good story..

Comments are closed.