The Red Shoes (2005 film)

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The Red Shoes
Promotional Movie Poster
Revised Romanization Bunhongshin
McCune–Reischauer Bunhongsin
Directed by Kim Yong-gyun
Produced by Hyon-tae Park,
Kwang-su Kim,
Peter Kim,
Shin Changgil
Written by Kim Yong-gyun
Ma Sang-Ryeol
Based on The Red Shoes
by Hans Christian Andersen
Starring Kim Hye-soo,
Kim Sung-soo
Park Yeon-ah
Go Soo-hee
Lee Eol
Music by Lee Byung-woo
Release date
  • 2005 (2005)
Running time
103 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office US$7,657,523[1]

The Red Shoes (Hangul분홍신; Hanja粉紅신; RRBunhongshin) is a 2005 South Korean horror film written and directed by Kim Yong-gyun. Kim Yong-gyun was inspired by a fairy tale of same name by Hans Christian Andersen.[2]


Sun-jae (Kim Hye-soo) leaves her unfaithful husband, Sung-joon (Lee Eol), and moves into an old apartment with her daughter, Tae-su (Park Yeon-ah). During Sun-jae's return home, she takes a pair of hot pink high heels she found in a subway car, only to discover that they are cursed. Her obsession grows, arousing envy and greed with mysterious, nightmarish visions. Even Tae-su and one of Sun-jae's friends, Kim Mi-hee (Go Soo-hee), fall victim to the power of the shoes, resulting in hysteria and theft. Mi-hee dies soon after she takes the shoes, and the shoes return to Tae-su(possibly inferring that she could be the reincarnation of Keiko).

With the help of her new boyfriend, In-cheol (Kim Sung-soo), Sun-jae tries to uncover the mystery behind the pink shoes before it kills her and Tae-su. She discovers that although the original owner of the shoes escape harm, the person who takes them will die with their feet chopped off. The mystery leads to an old woman who lives in a basement below Sun-jae. The old woman refuses to disclose any information, and they chase after her in the parking lot. She identifies Sun-jae as Oki, which confuses Sun-jae. It is revealed that in her youth during the last years of the Japanese occupation of Korea, the old woman was a servant for a young, prominent dancer named Keiko. Keiko, who was the daughter of a high-ranking officer, was blessed with pink shoes from her lover. Unfortunately, Keiko's rival named Oki was jealous of her talents and wanted the shoes for herself. She paid the old woman with a scarf to steal the shoes away from Keiko. Though she succeeded in stealing the shoes for Oki, the old woman watched her and Keiko fight over them at the photo shoot for a ballet advertisement. Then one night, a pregnant Keiko witnessed her lover and Oki having sex. When she ran off out of betrayal and grief, the man tried to stop Keiko. Fed up with being second and realizing the man loves Keiko, Oki grabbed a sharp weapon and viciously attacked her. Using the weapon, she killed Keiko and her unborn child. Oki then dumps her in an unmarked grave. She wasn't aware that the old woman had watched Keiko's murder unfold and laughed as she took the shoes for herself. Feeling guilt and grief for cheating on Keiko, the man refuses to dance with Oki during the performance, but had to. Keiko's ghost then got her revenge on both the man and Oki, leading to their deaths. The old woman warns Sun-jae the same fate that will befall her if she doesn't return the pink shoes to Keiko at once.

At Keiko's gravesite, Sun-jae returns the pink shoes to her, hoping this will end the haunting she has been tormented with. Later on, she visits In-cheol only to discover he has found out that she killed her husband. She tries to deny it, but when she learns that Tae-su told him the truth, she hurries home to try to kill her. Sun-jae chases Tae-su to the subway station tracks in an attempt to kill her, but at the last second, she moves her daughter away from the train. Tae-su seemingly disappears from her. While attempting to find her, Sun-jae is then confronted by the ghost of Keiko, who tells her the haunting truth. It is revealed that Sun-jae is the reincarnation of Oki. Sun-jae denies it claiming she has the wrong woman. However, Keiko reveals she's known the truth and taunts her by laughing continuously. She shows how Sun-jae murdered her husband, her best friend, Mi-hee, her boyfriend In-cheol, and attempted to kill her own daughter, Tae-su. As Sun-jae tries to escape, she is then face to face with a deformed Keiko who finally claims her.

The scene transitions to 1944 when Keiko is dancing proudly in her pink shoes during rehearsals. The last scene reveals Tae-su practicing her ballet skills in her mother's bedroom. In a post credit scene in the future, a grown up Tae-su picks up the pink shoes in the park


  • Kim Hye-soo as Sun-jae
  • Kim Sung-soo as In-cheol (Sun-jae's boyfriend)
  • Park Yeon-ah as Tae-su (Sun-jae's daughter)
  • Kang Ye-won as Keiko
  • Go Soo-hee as Kim Mi-hee (Sun-jae's friend)
  • Lee Eol as Sung-joon (Sun-jae's ex-husband)


Ryan Daley from Bloody Disgusting said that although the film has occasionally "poor" pace, its cinematography is "striking" and that its plot machinations are "all over the map", which added to the confusion of the story. He also noted that "solid and stylish" gore was a plus to the film and that he was "dying" to know how it ended, even if [he] was a little overwhelmed by the final ambiguous twist."[3]

Awards and nominations[edit]

2006 Grand Bell Awards[4]
2007 Korean Film Awards
  • Nomination - Best Actress - Kim Hye-soo
  • Nomination - Best Art Direction - Jang Pak-h and Im Hyeong-tae

See also[edit]


External links[edit]