Highly awaited third feature by young horrormeister Ahn Byeong-gi, “Bunshinsaba” is a bust. Yet another Korean psychothriller set in a girls’ high school — this time terrorized by a vengeful female spirit from the past — “Bunshinsaba” lacks the chilling formalism of Ahn’s “Phone” and instead plays like the more hysterical sections of his debut, “A Nightmare.” Fast playoff looks likely on release Aug. 5, followed by bundled sales at markets down the line.
Ostracized by most of her classmates at her new school in the countryside, “bitch from Seoul” Yu-jin (Lee Se-eun) finds she has the power to cause her enemies to commit suicide in interesting ways by chanting the curse “Bunshinsaba.” As new arts teacher Eun-ju (Kim Gyu-ri) starts getting spooked, and the bodycount mounts, Yu-jin realizes she may have been taken over by the spirit of a girl, In-suk (Lee Yu-ri), who died horribly in the village 30 years ago. Heavy on closeups, and delivering its shocks more through fast cutting and sound effects than atmosphere building, script spins ever more elaborate circles in its final reels to maintain momentum. Title is a meaningless word, like “Abracadabra” in English.