I saw this almost a year ago, but its impact still remains engraved in my mind. I'll try to keep this spoiler free, but won't promise it will be completely free of spoilers (it is a review after all).
The beginning was a bit rough and did not hook me right away. The color palette of the drama skews more towards grey and somber colors but the main character Kang Sang-man (Cha Tae-hyun) is a depressed and suicidal man so that makes sense. Hello Ghost is a great watch, overall, but it's really the ending that ties everything together and makes the journey that much more memorable, but before that here's a quick synopsis: Sang-man nearly dies after one of his suicide attempts, and after coming back to life, he begins to see ghosts. These ghosts, however, have unfinished business left in the living world and borrow Sang-man's body to fulfill their last wishes. This, inevitably, ensues hijinks and laughs with the wacky situations that occur and the odd behavior Sang-man is forced to go through.
Hello Ghost is a movie that reminds me of a connect-the-dots puzzle. While others will see the big picture before even finishing, many will start from the beginning and follow the path until the end. Once the last number is connected, they will step back and smile with awe and glee at the image created before their eyes. Hello Ghost is like that in the sense that once credit rolls, the whole journey Sang-man went through with his ghostly companions from the beginning to the end will be that much more memorable and stunning. We will come to understand why things happened as they had and (at least for me) be brought to tears.
One of this movie's greatest attribute is that it's simple. The plot is straightforward and the scenes are relatively simplistic which highlight a touch of reality into nonsensical situations. Hello Ghost doesn't employ a plethora of cool computer graphics to make the ghosts, well quite frankly, ghostly, and it was a good choice and investment. The ghosts usually look human and act like humans (albeit strange ones) which allows the audience to see and relate to these supernatural beings as people. The charm of this movie is that it's a comedy that relies on its story and situational humors to bring the laughs, so it doesn't need loud explosions or big flashes to catch the audience's attention. Hello Ghost is a nice break of fresh air that doesn't bombard its watcher but lets them take a breath and enjoy its simple charms.
Another reason why this movie is quite entertaining is the stellar cast of actors and actresses that give it their all. Cha Tae-hyun is a hoot to watch with his facial acrobats. He really showcases his talents and charm while portraying Sang-man and all the different possessed versions. Though some may appear over the top, it just adds to the fun and humor of the movie.
The entire ensemble was truly a gem with amazing supporting actors who were fantastic in their roles. Go Chang-suk is adorable and silly as the chain-smoker ghost.
Chun Bo-geun as the little boy ghost is super cute and a joy on screen.
Jang Young-nam, once again, does not disappoint as the weeping ghost.
I'd recommend Hello Ghost to anyone interested in a comedy rooted in family ties and willing to shed a few tears. While some may find this movie a bit cheesy or predictable, I enjoyed what was served, but highly advise to not judge the movie by its first ten minutes (or beginning in general). It took me some time to get invested with the characters and get comfortable, but once the movie got its groove, it was a smooth and fun ride until the end.