Ji-won suffers from amnesia after an accident she can’t remember. She soon learns that she was part of a bully clique in her past. One by one, her former friends get murdered and she has to solve the mystery of her past, before it’s her turn to die…
Also known as:
The Ghost / Ryeong
South Korean horror flick “Dead Friend” from 2004 starts with a scene showing Eon-jung and her two friends from high school meeting up to play with a Ouija board one night. Eon-jung chants an evocation while the planchette starts to shake. At the same time, her sister (Eon-seo), who sleeps in another room gets increasingly disturbed and eventually wakes up in a panic. The group conducting the séance asks the ghost what it wants and the planchette points towards „revenge“. The séance gets interrupted by an angry Eon-seo, who bursts into the room and scolds them over spending the night messing with the occult instead of studying for their SAT.
At that point Eon-jung admits that the shaking planchette was a prank and grumpily decides to go to bed, while jokingly exclaiming that she wishes that the ghost would take her annoying sister away. Just before bed, she remembers that interrupting a Ouija board session without sending the ghost back could let the ghost loose and free to haunt them, but she doesn’t take it serious enough and just goes to bed with her two friends. While the girls have turned their backs on the Ouija board, the viewer gets a glimpse of the planchette moving by itself, indicating that they have indeed conjured something up.
Meanwhile, Eon-seo decides to go into the kitchen and discovers long black hair floating around in the sink. She immediately starts uncontrollably vomiting water and seems shocked by something that the viewer doesn’t get to see, as the scene ends abruptly and cuts to an entirely different setting and character: Ji-won.
Ji-won is a college student who is suffering from amnesia due to an accident that she doesn’t remember. She leads a rather normal life otherwise; has a boyfriend and is an exceptionally good swimmer. One day during class, she sees an unknown girl taking pictures of her, before disappearing. She is confused and contemplates on leaving her current environment, as it might be easier to live amongst strangers who know nothing about her, just like herself – much to the misery of her mother. The viewer learns that her father has died and that the family was once very poor, but managed to become wealthy.
Ji-won starts to have increasingly more flashbacks from her childhood that confuse her more than help her rebuilding her identity. On top of that, she starts having paranormal experiences like a little girl appearing in her locker and disappearing into thin air.
One day, a girl called Yu-jung walks up to her and explains to her that she is an old friend from the past. She gives her a photo depicting four girls standing at a spring in a forest – Yu-jung herself, Ji-won and two others girls that she has no memory of, Eon-seo (the sister of Eon-yung who interrupted the seance at the beginning of the movie) and Mi-kyong, who we only later learn something about.
Yu-jung explains that Eon-seo has been found dead with water in her lungs. Ji-won is shocked, but can’t get any more answers from her.
Later, Yu-jung is developing photos in a darkroom at her college for a class assignment, when a ghostly figure with long hair that is dripping with water attacks her.
Meanwhile, Ji-won decides to spend a relaxing evening with her boyfriend in the cinema, but it turns into a horror trip instead, when she sees a terrifying ghost with long black hair, who tries to grab her.
The following day, the police questions Ji-won at the college and she learns that Yu-jung has been found dead in the darkroom, with her lungs filled with water as it was the case for Eon-seo.
Slowly, Ji-won stars remembering things from her past: Ji-won was once in a girl clique, who behaved like bullies towards outsiders.
When Ji-won attends the funeral of Yu-jung in hopes of getting more answers, a furious Eon-jung attacks her, blaming her for the deaths of the two girls. Later, she visits Eon-jung at home, despite her anger towards her. Ji-won learns that not only was she part of the clique, but she was the leader and it’s most aggressive member. She also learns, that the fourth member, Mi-kyoung, is still alive, but at a mental hospital.
When Ji-won visits Mi-kyong at the hospital, she finds out that the other members of the clique were only friends with her because of her wealth and that there was another girl, who she can’t remember – Su-in, a girl that was the primary victim of their bullying. Mi-kyong becomes increasingly upset with Ji-won’s presence, screaming that „she“ is gonna kill all of them and Ji-won is to blame.
The information about Su-in triggers memories in Ji-won about her childhood and how she was friends with Su-in, but stopped once her parents became rich. From then on she abused Su-in, keeping her close with promises of friendship while being as cruel to her as possible.
Ji-won is shocked about her past personality and tries to find Su-in, but only manages to comes across her mother, who tells her that Su-in has been missing for a while.
When Ji-won and her boyfriend examine the photo they received from Yu-jung, they notice that all four girls are on it and therefore there must have been a fifth person present to take the photo.
They decide to ask Mi-kyong, but when they arrive at the mental hospital, it’s too late – she has been found dead in her bed, drowned like the other two.
When Ji-won gets questioned by the police again, she finally tells them about the paranormal experiences she and the others had, but they just laugh into her face.
Feeling left alone and helpless, Ji-won and her boyfriend decide to find Su-in by themselves and to go to the location, where the photo was taken. As soon as they arrive, Ji-won is overcome with another flashback. She suddenly remembers the day the photo was taken. She pushed Su-in into the spring, while the rest of the group laughed, and then got pushed in herself. She sees herself unable to swim and Su-in immedately coming to her help, but getting stuck and trying to reach for her leg. She sees herself fighting her off and coming to the surface, leaving Su-in behind to die.
Ji-won realizes, that Su-in’s body is in the spring, so she jumps down and discovers her – completely intact due to arsenic in the water, that has preserved her body.
Click here to unfold the remaining story (SPOILER WARNING) After the police retrieves the corpse, Ji-won goes home, assuming that she can be relieved, as the mystery is solved. She gets greeted by her mother, who ruins her optimistic outlook, when she outs herself as possessed – possessed by the spirit of Ji-won! It turns out that during the fight in the water, Su-in’s and Ji-won’s spirits have left their bodies and Su-in’s spirit ended up in Ji-won’s body, while Ji-won’s spirit ended up possessing the body of her own mother. Ji-won’s possessed mother tells Su-in that she wants her body back, before she starts voming water onto the floor and collapses lifelessly. Ji-won’s spirit emerges from the pool of water and tries to approach Su-in (in Ji-won’s body), but she grabs a shard and cuts her own wrist, making Ji-won’s spirit cry out in agony. After being saved by her boyfriend, Su-in (still in Ji-won’s body) wakes up in a hospital. The final scene of the movie shows her walking down a market, passing by her real mother, who gives her an evil stare, indicating that Ji-won has now possessed her and is still out to get her body back.
After the police retrieves the corpse, Ji-won goes home, assuming that she can be relieved, as the mystery is solved. She gets greeted by her mother, who ruins her optimistic outlook, when she outs herself as possessed – possessed by the spirit of Ji-won!
It turns out that during the fight in the water, Su-in’s and Ji-won’s spirits have left their bodies and Su-in’s spirit ended up in Ji-won’s body, while Ji-won’s spirit ended up possessing the body of her own mother.
Ji-won’s possessed mother tells Su-in that she wants her body back, before she starts voming water onto the floor and collapses lifelessly. Ji-won’s spirit emerges from the pool of water and tries to approach Su-in (in Ji-won’s body), but she grabs a shard and cuts her own wrist, making Ji-won’s spirit cry out in agony.
After being saved by her boyfriend, Su-in (still in Ji-won’s body) wakes up in a hospital.
The final scene of the movie shows her walking down a market, passing by her real mother, who gives her an evil stare, indicating that Ji-won has now possessed her and is still out to get her body back.
Dead Friend (2004) on IMDB