Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
I was doing some horror hunting on Netflix recently and came across Goedam, a South Korean anthology of short horror films. I had actually planned on watching this when it came out last year but you know how these things go. So I decided to give it another try and wouldn’t you know it? Goedam (which is actually a television series) delivers some solid scares in most of these episodes.
Now like most anthologies there is one main story linking to some of the others, but due to the very short runtime of each episode (the longest being 15 minutes) Goedam doesn’t do the greatest job of making those links clear.
Then again, it’s only been one season so far, so here’s hoping we get more of these macabre moments in the upcoming Season 2 and also a deeper and clearer picture of what’s going on in the world of Goedam (which means “urban ghost story” in Korean, in case you were wondering).
Taking a page from our fearless leader Julien I decided to line ‘em up and rank all eight episodes from my least favourite to the best of the bunch. So without further ado I give you, ALL EIGHT EPISODES OF GOEDAM RANKED & SPOILER FREE!
# 8 Curiosity (Ep. 4)
I think this one links to the main story thread being told in Goedam. That said, I didn’t find it as genuinely creepy as some of the others listed here.
We have two schoolgirls, one of which forgot something in her classroom and has to go back for it while her friend waits outside. There’s a creepy doll and a very flexible ghost/demon thingie but there’s just not enough here to make this curiosity (pun intended) of a story stand out from the crowd.
#7 Threshold (Ep. 7)
Just because you don’t share someone’s beliefs, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t respect them. A man’s wife reminds him to leave the talisman she hung above their bedroom door where it is, but he doesn’t listen and we all know the rest.
This one actually has a decent setup and there’s a scene with some hair stuck where it shouldn’t be that will genuinely creep you out. But other than that, Threshold is as predictable as they come, and with a runtime of only seven minutes it fails to leave a big impression the way a horror short film is supposed to.
#6 Red Shoes (Ep. 5)
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! Another short that links directly into the mystery of the main plot, Red Shoes starts off innocuous as it opens in a classroom with some teenage girls discussing the suicide/accidental death of one of their classmates. There’s more afoot here though, as the teacher enters the class and shockingly coldly tells the kids not to feel guilty (strange choice of words) about her death.
What comes after may be a vengeful ghost or just someone in the wrong place at the wrong time, I’m not sure yet. But the sound design and great mix of practical and computer generated effects make for a gruesome and wonderful ending that leaves you wanting more.
#5 Dimension (Ep. 6)
I’m still not 100 per cent sure what happened here but I know I enjoyed it! Loosely inspired by the true life story of Elisa Lam, a young woman whose body was discovered in a water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel (check out Alice’s article for more on this disturbing and strange tale) with her last moments being caught on the CCTV cameras of said hotel.
A young man is shown on the video feed of an elevator acting strangely. His remains are found later and the lead investigator is told that the man was studying dimensional travel before this happened. I won’t say more or I’ll be getting into spoiler territory, but I will say this is the episode they should’ve called “Curiosity” because this detective learns the hard way that some unsolved mysteries should stay exactly like that unsolved.
#4 Special Guest (Ep. 3)
Live streaming is all the rage these days, especially with YouTubers who make money doing it. If you’ve ever watched those videos on strange things that have occurred during a live stream you’ll know what to expect with Special Guest.
A trend of late has been making horror movies that centre around people in Zoom chats and this short would make for a fun feature length movie. There isn’t much in terms of gore (although the ending is brutal) but they do manage to build a genuinely creepy and dread-filled atmosphere. And considering how brightly lit and “cheerful” the whole video looks, that’s one hell of an accomplishment.
#3 Destination (Ep. 2)
Driving alone at night isn’t all that scary. Driving alone at night on deserted roads with no lights other than the ones coming from your car? That gives the mind time to come up with some truly chilling scenarios. And if you’re anything like me, those can get REALLY creepy!
The concept of picking up a ghostly passenger isn’t new, but they do a sensational job of cranking up the terror here. And when we finally get a look at what’s in store for this poor driver it will make you never want to drive alone at night ever again.
#2 Birth (Ep. 8)
I would love to see a full length feature of this one as I think it has the makings of a great supernatural horror the likes of Ju-on (aka The Grudge). We learn a shaman is practicing forbidden dark magic so she can gain more power. Well be careful what you wish for because with great power comes a great chance you’ll end up suffering a gruesome fate.
The actress here is a big part of why this worked for me. She’s a horrible person and you’ll relish seeing her get what she deserves. But the ending leaves you with more questions than answers and I would love to see them explore what happens next.
#1 Crack (Ep. 1)
The best anthologies know they have to hook you from the word go and Crack does a fantastic job of just that. Not only does it feed into the main plot (we see this classroom and this character show up again in later episodes) but in the span of eight minutes it manages to creep the life out of you.
The “crack” here refers to the space in between the walls of bathroom stalls. I hate these things! Some of them are so big, you have to wonder what the hell was the designer thinking when they made it that way! Not only does it feel like you have no privacy but it also makes you feel vulnerable because of the open spaces beneath the stall walls. With a couple of solid “look in the background” moments and an ending that brings it all home like a champ, Crack alone makes Goedamn worth checking out and easily makes it the number one on my list.
Final Thoughts: Season 2 is scheduled to release in August this year so here’s hoping we get some answers to the main story and some more terrifying shorts that bring your nightmares to life. Until then, if you haven’t checked out this Korean horror anthology it’s available on Netflix now.
So are you a fan of South Korean horror? Which is your favourite? You can check out more reviews below:
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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