South Korea has officially put Japan on notice that they’re no longer the only place to find wacked-out, batshit crazy cinema. E.J. Yong’s Dasepo Naughty Girls is pure, off-the-charts insanity, and defies being classified in any one specific genre. Featuring bits and pieces culled from musicals, mystery, comedy, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and even more, it’s a film that’s impossible to classify. It’s truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Welcome to No Use High School, the most unique high school you’ll ever encounter. Full of different ethnic cultures and economic societies, as well as having no qualms with openly discussing sexual matters, the school resembles a funhouse more than it does an institute of higher learning. Our first minutes spent within these hallowed halls sees a substitute teacher explaining to his class that he’s in because their normal teacher has caught an STD. This creates a chain-reaction where nearly every student walks out to be checked themselves due to the high level of “free love” the student (and seemingly teacher) body participate in. A couple students are left behind, one of which is “Poor Girl”, who after the fuss is over realizes she’s left a customer waiting and lets the teacher know. You’d think he’d be taken aback, but he just tells her to hurry along, so as her john is not kept waiting.
“Poor Girl” is just as her name implies; extremely poor, and has been forced into prostitution due to a sick mother and a desire to save up money so her little brother can go to college. Oddly enough, she’s a virgin, and seems to somehow be able to remain one, as her customers end up wanting to play video games or play dress-up rather than actually having sex. She’s in love with Anthony, a rich pretty-boy from Switzerland who won’t give her the time of day. That is until one night she’s abducted by the “Realm of Eros” cult, who forces her to take part in a virginal dance to arouse erotic energy. The dance is caught on tape, and she becomes a multimedia sensation. Meanwhile at the school, normally promiscuous girls are becoming bookworms, dedicated to studying and getting into college. Surely something must be up to cause this sudden switch, and those unaffected by this “disease” are on the case. Yes, it’s just another boring semester at No Use High.
Dasepo Naughty Girls is like a sexed-up, hormone-driven Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory on a significantly higher dosage of hallucinogens. It’s not surprising that the film is based on an internet comic strip called "Multi-Cell Girl", as it’s full of comic book styling’s throughout. Overstated facial expressions, wacky mannerisms, unbelievable situations; it’s all here for your consumption. While I don’t know much about "Multi-Cell Girl", it wouldn’t come as a shock if I found out it was more along the lines of short, rapid-fire stories reminiscent of American Sunday Funnies without much story cohesion outside of the setting and characters, because the film is outrageously schizophrenic. It seems like director E.J. Yong wanted to fit as many storylines into the 105 minutes as possible, and I’ve never seen a film before with so many different plots being tossed around; it borders on an anthology.
Normally, a film as scatterbrained as Dasepo Naughty Girls wouldn’t exactly be a good thing, but it’s anything but a detriment in this instance. The situations are so outlandish and become increasingly more bizarre by the minute that it’s hard not to be highly entertained. I’m not kidding myself; a lot of this stuff just flat-out didn’t make sense. But it hardly mattered, as I wholeheartedly appreciated the gonzo nature of what I was witnessing. I was never bored, and was excited to see what madness lurked around the next corner. And boy is it mad. You’ll see everything from mythical dragons, teenage boys scratching their crotches in unison to ward off an evil spirit, teachers getting spanked by their students, young girls becoming virginal again thanks to vaginal implants, a chick with a dick, a cross-dressing mob boss, sing-along musical numbers, and oh so much more.
Visually, the film is absolutely stunning. Featuring a color palette that seems to have been created out of pure happy, it will make your eyes melt with delight. It truly is a joy to watch, and is a great compliment to the story itself. Combined, the two elements make Dasepo Naughty Girls a movie hard to tear your retinas away from. The musical numbers, which if you read my reviews you know I’m generally not a fan of, mesh well with the feel of the film, and help to move the narrative along nicely. Like a true-to-form musical, the songs are mostly small soliloquies relaying a characters thoughts or current emotional state. It doesn't hurt that the lyrics are fairly campy and tongue-in-cheek as well.
A cacophony of surreal craziness the likes of which are rarely ever seen, Dasepo Naughty Girls is a trip from beginning to end, one that will keep you equally amused and scratching your head (but in a good way). It comes highly recommended to the more adventurous cinephiles out there, as I can 100% guarantee you’ve never seen another film like it. Enroll now!
Third Window Films brings Dasepo Naughty Girls to R2 DVD in the UK. The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks quite good. The print does the art-deco aesthetics proud, and there’s fortunately no color bleeding present. On the down side, this is an NTSC->PAL transfer, so there’s a bit of frame stutter and aliasing throughout (it’s not flagged for progressive scan), but it’s in no way overbearing or intrusive to the experience. Audio is available in Dolby Digital 2.0 only, which is a bit of a shame as this being a music-heavy soundtrack, it would have been nice to have a full 5.1 mix. Still, all of the dialogue is clear and nicely balanced, albeit a bit bass-heavy.
The main extra on the release is a 30-minute making of featurette that includes interviews from director E.J. Yong, cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung, and cast members Ok-bin Kim, Jin-woo Park, and Kyun Lee. Inter-spliced with the interviews is a lot of behind-the-scenes footage that shows the crew setting up shots and such. The feature proves to be interesting, but the burned-in subtitles seem a little shaky in the translation department, and some of the context of the dialogue seems a bit lost. Also included is a huge photo gallery featuring nearly 100 images, and trailers for this as well as other Third Window Films releases.
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