White Christmas: a Review
When one thinks of White Christmas, things that come to that person’s mind are probably the song or a happy love story; or the true meaning of opening his window to falling snow on the joyful day. Now imagine this: instead of being stuffed with your loved ones inside your cozy homes, you have to spend your Christmas in your boarding school during the only holiday. Don’t worry so much, there’s plenty of snow there, but joining you are a teacher, a psychiatrist, and your schoolmates who get murdered one by one mysteriously. Welcome to another version of White Christmas, where it’s as dark as the night sky and beware; your life is going to change once you decide to explore it.
Since you’ve decided to explore it, I want to give you a question, the same question asked in this drama:
Are monsters created or born?
When one thinks of that question, people think of beasts or other mythical creatures. However, the scariest monsters among them are us: the human beings. Humans are supposed to be far more superior to beasts. I mean, we have created this vast society with such high level technology, but when emergency strikes, we’re no different than the beasts we look down upon. Despite being the top 1% of the country academically, when it comes down to it, the students are no different from any other human beings and possibly even the killer.
White Christmas attempts to take on the question mentioned above and the drama takes you to the haunting place of a human’s psyche. This drama is far more than a love story or a simple horror story which is one of the great aspects to this drama. It’s more complicated; it’s a human drama.
Eight students receive a letter in a black envelope which tells them someone will die under the clock tower after eight days. The eight students stay at school to solve this mystery and give up the once a year weekly trip back to their homes for the holiday. Trapped with them are a Physical Education teacher and a psychologist who finds shelter in the school after his car accident in the mountains.
Susin High School
It is a prestigious school that houses the top 1% of Korea’s high school students. The students there are constantly focused on studying and installed CCTVs are all over the school to monitor the activities of the students so they don’t go astray. For every rule broken, students are deducted points and the more points accumulated, the chances of being expelled are higher.
You tainted me, made me pitiful.
You made me a monster in the corner.
You silenced me.
You ridiculed my false hopes.
You took the only thing I had and put it around your neck.
I held out my hand and you let go.
You deleted me from your eyes.
Finally, you overtook me.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
After 8 days, walk up the path by the Zelkova tree.
Under the clock tower, you will find someone dead. The night that Jesus was born, I curse you.
Park Moo Yul (Baek Sung Hyun) is a hardworking student who is a very intelligent but could never surpass Choi Chi Hoon. His father is a doctor and his mother is deceased, his role model is his mother. In the drama, he is considered the leader of the group.
Choi Chi Hoon (Sung Joon) is the number one student in Susin High School and is devoid of emotions. He doesn’t understand emotions very well, thus he is able to be calm in situations that many would panic in. He is the brain of the group and my personal favourite.
Jo Young Jae (Kim Young Kwang) acts tough on the outside but is actually weak on the inside. However, he covers this up by acting rough so people become afraid of him. His frequent acts would be bullying others and hitting them.
Yoon Su (Lee Soo Hyuk) is the outcast of group and has no friends as everyone despises him for coming into the school through the back door. His parents are rich and renovated the dorms, thus allowing him entrance to Susin and earning him a nickname, Angel. He has this mysterious fear of a corner monster. I think he’s the most interesting one.
Yang Kang Mo (Kwak Jung Wook) is the cameraman of the group and is the one most bullied by Jo Young Jae. He’s deaf but can hear when he puts on his hearing aid. The one thing he despises the most is when people belittle him and pity him for being deaf. He is the dark horse.
Kang Mi Reu (Kim Hyun Joong) is the most carefree student in the group. He’s known as the trouble maker of the school and loves doing things his own way. He basically looks like a problematic student but when he put his mind in doing something, he’ll be successful. His brain and fists work parallel to each other most of the time.
Lee Jae Kyu (Hong Jong Hyun) is the new student that transferred during the spring. He doesn’t really know anyone and studied hard just to get into this school because his mother wanted him to. He is a double edged sword.
Yoon Eun Sung (Esom) is the only girl staying over at the school. She used to be one of the prettiest and the most popular girl in the school. but one day, this sweet and cheerful girl disappeared and abruptly changed into a cynical girl, as if she’s been someone else.
The thing that’s more interesting than the plot may be the characters themselves which all actors portray very well. The characters are not perfect which audiences can relate to far better than a rich chaebol or a super poor perky girl. A viewer could relate to one of them, if not all of the characters.
You have the leader who feels he has to live up to his father’s expectations. A genius who cannot compute his emotions. A bully who hurts others to hide his weakness. A rich kid that has everything yet nothing he wants. A person that is physically disabled who struggles to fit the norm. A badass person that has a gentle heart. A newbie that tries to reach out to his peers and criticizes them. A cynic that used to be happy until reality hit her in the face. A person who struggles fit with the standards and qualifications of the high school. A person who kills but has a sense of justice. A person that loves someone so much they are willing to take a hit for that special someone.
The most common thing they all have is that they struggle to be good which is not always easy, especially when obstacles that are life threatening are thrown at them constantly and abruptly.
So are monsters created or born? The drama addresses this question but it does not answer it. It rather allows the viewers to judge and answer the question themselves. The open ending gave the viewers a choice, something that the killer also gave to his victims in the drama.
So if you have time to spend (and some thoughts to spare), you should take some time to watch this drama, it’s only eight episodes long so it’s fairly short compared to the usual length of dramas; perhaps the thoughts one might have afterwards would be longer than the drama itself.