It’s been a while since I did a journey through the classics–all the airing dramas lately have been top-notch, and it’s been difficult to find time for old fan favorites. Kmuse insisted that I needed to have White Christmas under my belt, though, and since she rarely steers me wrong, I pressed play on the first episode. Come see if it was the right Halloween drama for me!
White Christmas was not an easy watch for me. It had echoes of Dead Poet’s Society, but without Robin William’s earnestness and wisdom to save the day. It’s psychologically intense, and my heart hurt over and over again for these poor, broken students. My heart hurt far less for the psychologist who was having fun tormenting them, pushing them to their breaking point, and for his stalker, who seemed capable of anything.
One of the reasons Kmuse had me watch White Christmas was because there were a lot of actors in it who have now built very successful careers, and for very good reason. I was definitely in it to see Kim Woo Bin again after watching him in Heirs and School 2013, and to enjoy the mania he brought to his wild character. I can’t wait for his return to dramaland.
Lee Som was brilliant as the tortured pretty girl who holds her own among all the boys. She continued to show that brilliance last year in Because This is My First Life. I’ll be watching for her in other dramas.
Kwak Jung Wook did an excellent job, and I could see the path that would lead to later memorable roles like his bully in School 2013 and his snobbish musician in Shut Up Flower Boy Band. He handled playing a student with a disability very well, and I really don’t understand why he doesn’t get cast in more dramas.
And then we have Lee Soo Hyuk. His “Angel” nickname and his penchant for hanging around in the school rafters was endearing, and his character arc broke my heart. Such a different role than the conflicted corporate bully he was in High School King of Savvy!
Sung Joon, also known as the lead from Shut Up Flower Boy Band, played the emotionless genius well–I could see him as the next Sherlock, in the same vein as Benedict Cumberbatch . . . though he doesn’t quite have the cheekbones for it.
Even Hong Jong Hyun, whose character tended to recede into the background a lot, brought intensity when needed–I’m impressed with how different this role was from his role as the Third Prince in Moonlovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo and his tech genius role in Dating Agency: Cyrano.
The plot was tightly woven, and the twists, though heavily foreshadowed, were well-done. There were definitely a few things I didn’t see coming at all, and I was on the edge of my seat a couple of times, wondering what in the world was going to happen next. Also, there were some parents that I wanted to smack around. Just sayin’.
I don’t know about the ending. It wasn’t truly satisfactory for me, because it didn’t show growth on anyone’s part. (I’m being vague to avoid spoilers.) I think it could have been handled better, but it didn’t detract a lot from the overall story. There was still a resolution, of sorts.
I would recommend White Christmas to anyone, even horror/suspense lightweights like me. There was very little in the way of gore or jump scares–mostly it was mind games. Would I rewatch it? Mmmm, probably not, simply because it was intense enough the first time and I wasn’t absolutely in love with the characters. I recognize their brilliance, but I didn’t connect with them the same way I have with other characters in other dramas (I’m thinking of Train to Busan here).
What about you, drama fans? What are you watching for this Halloween season?
Until next time, I remain–
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi