“Wishing Stairs” – Chris Luedtke

Oh, I’m sure you’re all stoked to see or even think about another Asian horror film. With all the adaptations from The Ring and The Grudge to the most recent Shutter and One Missed Call, one more review is just another nail in the coffin, no? Actually, you may be surprised to find that Wishing Stairs isn’t too bad, and even though it’s already five years old, it manages to stay away from a lot of the marks that Asian horror is becoming so widely known for.

I’m not trying to say that this film is in any way refreshing, but it is nice to see Wishing Stairs not falling in line. The premise of the film is that if one counts the stairs in order ascending to a dormitory up to stair 28, a final 29th stair will appear and grant the person a wish. Of course, there’s always a catch to any great contraption such as this. If the one who makes the wish has honorable intentions, then the wish can be a blessing, but if the wish is made with malice, then evil forces may be unleashed.

The first thing you’ll notice about this film is its use of dreary colors such as grey. The only time anything shines throughout this film is in the ballet scenes, and even that becomes a place of severe depression and betrayal shortly in. There were times when I though this was a school for kids with severe mental disorders, because the melancholy that is unleashed after you press that play button is often enough to make you draw back your head and give you a severe case of high school nostalgia.

The acting is damn good. I couldn’t help but be impressed by all the characters, as their fear and feelings felt extraordinarily real. The female relationships in here do need to be brought into question. I was getting some major homoerotic signals from a lot of these girls, especially when they wrap their arms around each other and tell each other, “All I need is you.” Sexuality is never revealed and isn’t the main essence of the film, but it’s hard to ignore it when it reaches certain levels, and you’ll know what I’m talking about when you get to those points.

I couldn’t help but eventually not care that much about the story after a while. It felt like a stream of consciousness piece, which can be good, but in this case, the plot becomes rather unclear after a while. Characters drive the film by their unquenchable desires, which are most definitely a good thing, but I reached a point where I sat back, scratched my head and said to myself, “Roll with the punches.”

If you’re into Asian horror, then you shouldn’t waste any time in picking up Wishing Stairs, as it is a decent flick for a genre that is quickly growing stale. I actually feel bad for Asian horror, because these American filmmakers keep remaking other countries’ work. Luckily for us, Wishing Stairs has not been remade, and there is no schedule for it as of yet. If you want a piece of cinematic Asian pastry with a slightly different filling, then pick this baby up.

Rating: ★★★☆

-Chris Luedtke

Read A.J. Hakari’s Wishing Stairs review here.

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