As always, for the review, you can choose to skip my blurbs.
I was planning to post this last Monday, when I finished the drama, but just like some other things I’ve watched, I re-watched not because I liked it, but because I still had too many questions. Then I watched it this morning, 8 AM, and finished it just now, 5 PM. There were still unanswered questions but my thoughts are a bit clearer now.
But to start off, I’m not a drama geek. The only dramas I’ve watched were ‘대장금 | Jewel in the Palace’, ‘시크릿가든 | Secret Garden’, ‘드림하이 | Dream High’, ‘해를 품은 달 | The Moon that Embraces the Sun’, most recently, ‘응답하라1997 | Reply 1997’, and just now, ‘화이트 크리스마스 | White Christmas’. I’m very picky when watching a drama. I knew a lot of people who knew just about any actor and what were their shows. Some update themselves, never letting any drama pass by, but I just didn’t.
Looking at it, everything I’ve watched were different from each other. I don’t like things that are so much hyped. I don’t like to watch Korean dramas that are currently being shown on local broadcasts, or even going as far as watching all those episodes online, nonstop, just so I have the bragging rights that I’ve already watched the drama.
Jewel in the Palace was pure gem, I loved it because it was highly cultural, traditional, and shows what Korea is. Watched Secret Garden to give me a taste of authentic pop drama love story, which is almost similar to every Korean dramas that people watch. Watched Dream High since it talks about students’ behavior and lifestyle which is highly relate-able to me the time I watched it. Watched The Moon that Embraces the Sun since it’s a mixture of the three dramas above, historical, romance, and schooling life, only in a traditional sense. And then there’s Reply 1997, a different take on a language that I am learning, where everything’s spoken in 사투리 (Busan dialect).
Now what’s the difference of White Christmas among all those? I have been fond of Korean horror movies. The only Korean movie I watched that is not in any way creepy or scary, was ‘건축학개론 | Architecture 101’, since it was the movie that our 선생님 played during a class when we had one day off of study. I love Korean horror so much, I’ve watched ‘장화, 홍련 | A Tale of Two Sisters’ for maybe about a hundred times *without exaggeration*.
화이트 크리스마스 | White Christmas
(KBS2 | 2011)
Difference is that White Christmas is deeply dark and psychological, highly different with the usual Korean dramas. Similar with A Tale of Two Sisters, the drama needed not a lot of cast, more so 10 of them did the job impressively. I know not anyone among the casts but it wasn’t important.
Why did I watch the drama?
It was recommended by a friend, when he just decided to watch the drama out of the blue. I was asking why watch something I haven’t even heard about and he was just “그냥”. I learned from before that the guy from 2NE1’s 아파 (It Hurts) music video appeared, the girl from Brown Eyed Girls’ 클렌징크림 (Cleansing Cream) music video, too. Recently, 2NE1 released another song and a music video, where two other guys appeared, the other one from 아파 appeared again. I became more curious and confused why the cast appears on music videos, then I learned that they were models. Anyway, since I was also reminded way way before that the drama’s only 8 episodes, I decided to watch it.
How the story started? *spoiler alert*
“Are monsters born or made?”
수신고등학교 (Susin High School), a private school where about 1% of the most intelligent students in Korea gather. They are secluded within the mountains, deprived of anything else besides studying. Every Christmas Eve, students are allowed to go home for 8 days, but 7 students stayed at school, along with their P.E. teacher. All of them received a black paper with a note… (Copied the other parts, others from my 잘못한 dictation skills >.<)
계속해서 생각해봤어. I kept thinking about it.
어디서부터 잘못된 걸까? When did it all begin?
너는 나를 비참하게 물들었고. You tainted me, made me pitiful.
너는 나를 구석괴물로 만들었고. You made me a monster in the corner.
너는 내가 아는 것을 침묵했어. You silenced me.
너는 내 가망없는 희망을 비웃었고. You ridiculed my false hopes
너는 내가 가진 단 하난를 빼앗아 목에 걸었고. You took the only thing I had and put it around your neck.
너는 내가 내민 손을 잡았다가 놓아버렸어. I held out my hand and you let go.
그리고 너는… 눈 앞의 나를 지워버렸고. And you deleted me from my eyes.
마지막으로 너는 나를 가로챘어. Finally, you overtook me.
Merry Christmas… Happy New Year.
8일간의 휴일이 지나고 느티나무 언덕길을 올라와 시계탑 아래에서면, After 8 days, walk up the path by the zelkova tree, under the clock tower,
죽어있는 누군가가 보일거야. You will see someone dead.
아기 예수가 태어난 밤에 나는 너를 저주한다. On this night that Jesus was born, I curse you.
First night of staying, someone got out of a car accident, bloody and helpless. They helped and let him into the school. It was a psychiatrist and as time went… a serial killer.
How the story went?
Everyone have been keeping secrets, some secrets darker than the other and as the story went, they each discover something, how all of them were interconnected, the reason why they stayed at school on a vacation period, and how someone committed suicide because of their individual sins. They discovered who sent the letter, which turned out to be a suicide note and not, but an entry from the suicide-student’s diary that was copied and sent to the 7 students, and the P.E. teacher, so someone had to go through the guilt. All of them had to go through trust issues, finger-points, sticky situations where they have to decide if they have to save themselves or another.
A teacher died, they saved a serial killer’s life and as an exchange, they were tortured mentally. The serial killer is being bugged by a question in which he’s wondering if monsters were born or made, and he used the students to prove his hypotheses by playing a very critical game with them. If they become monsters, the killer wins. They had to go through psychiatric interviews and hypnoses where they recount their past childhood memories which eventually triggered their inner monsters to hatch and evolve.
In the process, they eventually had to gang up on another, beat each other, fight, blame, betray, curse, and kill. Having no contact with the outside world, they had to look for a way to escape the serial killer. People came, another helped them, and another made them weaker.
How the story ended?
After hard and complicated tests on their sanity, they eventually defeated the serial killer. But before anything else, their parents had to be questioned before their release, which in the process ruins a part of their relationship with their families. The serial killer survived but the students had to come face to face with him for the last time since they have to avenge one of the students who died because of the killer’s mental torture. That student is almost at the brink of becoming a monster, but chose to commit suicide instead.
This pushed the remaining students to put the law on their hands, forcing the serial killer to fall from the hospital’s rooftop, rather than leaving it to the police. Before the killer fell, he said ‘he won’. The students who pushed the killer were questioned in which they make their own statements, some true, some not, and the end is unclear whether they were sentenced or not.
Then, are monsters born, or made? I believe a person’s capability of doing something evil depends on special circumstances. They killed the serial killer so they wouldn’t have to experience any more torture, same with others who might have contact with the killer in the future. Something I’ve picked up from ‘Mean Girls (2004)’, there are two kinds of evil, those who do evil, and those who see evil things but don’t try to stop it. Being ignorant is not an exception. If a person was born with defects, disability or any other thing, they can still be trained to learn what’s right and what’s wrong.
Should they be punished? Definitely.
Why did the killer ‘won’ in the end? I believe every student who experienced the torture during that vacation had once give in to their monsters because of anger, guilt, fear and survival. It didn’t necessarily made them monsters, as they were just pushed to the edge, and chose to do things for them to go on. Having experienced all of the frightful events that happened, I believe they wouldn’t become monsters in the long term. The person who pushed them to the limits departed, but the thought that they left with their hands clean leaves a mystery about the capabilities of a human. Circumstances can still happen, but when it comes they always have a choice.