South Korea has given the horror genre some of its best movies over the last two decades. ‘Zombies on a train’ movie Train to Busan is deservedly a fan favourite. But South Korean filmmakers have also delivered I Saw The Devil, Thirst, A Tale of Two Sisters, and The Wailing. Don’t complain about subtitles. Each of these movies deserves viewing. Now horror-streaming platform Shudder has unveiled South Korea’s latest export – 0.0 Mhz. It promises a combination of demonic possession and techno-horror while also trading on the popularity of ghost-hunting programs. If that wasn’t enticing enough, 0.0 Mhz is also based on a popular Jang Jak web comic and features a couple of K-pop starts.
In a small village, a shaman dies tragically while trying to exorcise a demon. Sometime later, several student members of an amateur ghost-hunters club venture out to the now abandoned site. Using necromancy and modern technology, the group monitors one their member’s brainwaves while she falls into REM sleep. Their plan – elicit some contact with the ‘other side’ when her brain activity hits 0.0 Mhz. But their plan works unexpectedly well, opening a door to the same demon.
0.0 Mhz Adds Nothing to Tired Possession Narrative
Truthfully, I have no familiarity with the source material on which 0.0 Mhz is based. I know even less about K-pop. But I do know something about horror movies and, on this subject matter, 0.0 Mhz is not the frequency at which scares occur. On the contrary, 0.0 Mhz is a formulaic demonic possession flick riddled with tired subgenre tropes. And director Yu Seon-dong wastes little time marching out clichés. Following what’s a vaguely engaging prologue, Seon-dong introduces audiences to his amateur ghost hunters. There’s some interesting banter about ghost-hunting technology that offers a hint of promise. But when a crotchety gas station vendor warns our aspiring paranormal investigators to ‘stay away’, you’re only two steps removed from an old Scooby-Doo episode.
…you’re only two steps removed from an old Scooby-Doo episode.
From that point onward, 0.0 Mhz is predictable and, as it drags on, rather dull. That is, Seon-dong takes far too long to get to what feels like an inevitable conclusion. Maybe the South Korean director thought he was working with richer material. Several story threads appear early in the movie that are subsequently dropped or unresolved. Early interpersonal rivalries – including one jealous member who privately tries to sell off the group’s possession footage – goes nowhere. Ultimately, these plot points feel like filler between scares that would have been better excised from the movie for a trimmer running time.
0.0 Mhz Scares and K-Pop Cast Fails to Chart
Familiarity, in and of itself, isn’t a death sentence. While style over substance isn’t ideal, generic stories can still deliver jolts and scares if done well and often enough. Yet 0.0 Mhz has few genuine jolts outside of its opening minutes. Simply put, Seon-dong fails to execute the movie’s scares in basically effective ways let alone conjure up more innovative thrills. Like its story, 0.0 Mhz has a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it, which is unlikely to impress most horror fans. Exacerbating these problems, Seon-dong’s over-reliance on CG-generateddemonic trickery looks cheap and, as a result, falls flat.
Like its story, 0.0 Mhz has a ‘been there, done that’ feel to it, which is unlikely to impress most horror fans
As for the movie’s cast, K-pop fans may be excited with artists Lee Sung-yeol and Jung Eun-ji’s roles in the movie. They’re likely to be the only ones impressed with the results. Outside of Choi Yoon-young’s performance, the young cast is uniformly bland. And Jung Eun-ji is completely out of her element with the meaty role to which she’s assigned. Throughout most of 0.0 Mhz, Eun-ji more often looks confused than scared or haunted. She simply lacks to dramatic range to carry the role. Comparatively, Choi Yoon-young flashes some charisma with her performance and delivers most of the movie’s best parts.
0.0 Mhz More Likely to Induce REM Sleep Than Edge-of-Your Seat Thrills
Though Shudder has been a welcome addition to streaming platforms for horror fans, their exclusive movies have been hit and miss. Fantastic movies like Revenge, Cursed Films, and Prevenge have beget forgettable entries like The Furies and The Marshes. Unfortunately, 0.0 Mhz falls into the latter category. Nothing about this South Korean demonic horror movie stands out. As such, there’s little to recommend here. Sadly, 0.0 Mhz is more likely to induce REM sleep than edge-of-your-seat thrills.