Yoga: The Movie aka Yoga Hakwon aka Yoga Institute (2009) South Korea
I didn't try for any specific Country this time - I just went down the 'foreign horror' list and grabbed the first one I hadn't seen - and I got this. Other reviewers called it 'original but hard to understand'. Umm, if you didn't understand it, how do you know it was original? Sorry to tell you but this story was anything BUT original. Stories about women willing to do anything for youth and beauty is as old as... well as old as the women looking for youth and beauty.
I had youth for a short period of time. Beauty? Nah, never got to try that. Would I go to great lengths to get it so everybody will stare at me for a couple of years until both attributes go away once again? Umm... well, are there any side effects? After all, I've had more than my fair share of ailments.
This is about a very strict Yoga studio that promises to restore those two attributes to those willing to make the sacrifice needed. Only one of the students will receive what is called 'kundalini'. What the hell is this, a game show? Kundalini is a part of Hindu philosophy - not a prize. But it doesn't come without problems. The Hindus believe in body points called 'chakras' and if they are all open and aligned, you just may achieve kundalini. It is supposed to be a state of bliss - some might call it Nirvana (I love that band!) but that's a Buddhist term so maybe not. Side effects may include (and I am NOT kidding):
- Involuntary jerks, tremors, shaking, itching, tingling, and crawling sensations, especially in the arms and legs
- Energy rushes or feelings of electricity circulating the body
- Intense heat (sweating) or cold, especially as energy is experienced passing through the chakras
- Spontaneous pranayama, asanas, mudras and bandhas (these are all some kind of involuntary body movement)
- Visions or sounds at times associated with a particular chakra
- Diminished or conversely extreme sexual desire sometimes leading to a state of constant or whole-body orgasm
- Emotional upheavals or surfacing of unwanted and repressed feelings or thoughts with certain repressed emotions becoming dominant in the conscious mind for short or long periods of time.
- Headache, migraine, or pressure inside the skull
- Increased blood pressure and irregular heartbeat
- Emotional numbness
- Antisocial tendencies
- Mood swings with periods of depression or mania
- Pains in different areas of the body, especially back and neck
- Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
- Trance-like and altered states of consciousness
- Disrupted sleep pattern (periods of insomnia or oversleeping)
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Bliss, feelings of infinite love and universal connectivity, transcendent awareness
Oh, the movie? Umm let's see. A woman who loses her job as a host of a shopping channel to a younger, prettier girl gets desperate and hears of an extreme yoga program guaranteed to bring back her youth and beauty. Yoga? Is that a code word for plastic surgery? So off she goes, along with several other women all desperate to be 21 again. So far we've got hints of the movies Suspiria and All About Eve. The rest is every movie about beauty envy there is.
The women arrive and find there are very strict rules for them to follow during their 7 day course:
- No contact with the outside world.
- No unauthorized consumption of food.
- No showers or baths within one hour after training sessions.
- No mirrors.
- No disclosure of the events within this academy to the outside world.
Consequences for breaking the rules are dire, but they're not told what they are. And so begins seven days of torture. I mean I hurt just watching these women bend and twist trying to, I dunno, contort their way back in time? I know genuine yoga is supposed to be very good for the body, combines meditation with exercise but what they perform is a real horrorshow.
And of course, even though it's only for seven days, the women break the rules and one by one they disappear. Finally, one is left and she thinks groovy, kundalini is mine - well, sort of. See, she WILL be pretty and young, but she has to give up her soul. There's always a catch, isn't there? So we get a somewhat confusing ending (probably part of that is due to the dubbing, part to the fact that my mind is like a steel trap - that's rusted shut) as she finds out what happened to the other girls (something about an ageless being sucking up the lives of everyone who comes there - saw lots of bodies of girls sort of still alive plus someone really... snake looking (part of kundalini's definition has to do with a serpentine quality) and our one girl left escaping but not without getting her arm scarred up.
The ending is even more confusing - she's going somewhere but sees her fallen comrades everywhere and then the lights go out - when they come on she sees posters of the one she escaped everywhere and she starts to scream... um, I think. You might have to watch yourself and get a better interpretation than that. Sheesh.