Muoi : The Legend of a Portrait is a 2007 South Korean/Vietnamese horror film starring Jo An, Cha Ye-ryeon and Anh Thu. It became the first horror (in Vietnam after the Fall of Saigon) and also first rated film in Vietnam.
Yun-hee is under pressure by her editor to produce something of interest for her next book. She hasn’t had a book published in three years and is all too cognizant of this fact. Things look up when her old friend Seo-yeon calls from Vietnam. Seo-Yeon informs Yun-hee about a local Vietnamese folklore centered around a girl named “Muoi” and her haunted portrait. It just so happens that in Yun-hee’s prior novel, she wrote a semi-autobiographical tale concerning her friends title “Secrets & Lies”. In the book Seo-Yeon was portrayed in the most horrible manner, but Yun-hee is sure that Seo-Yeon hasn’t read the book as she has been living in Vietnam for years. Yun-hee eagerly flies to Vietnam to learn more about Muoi.
Over a century ago, Muoi was born as a normal child, but was ostracized by the locals and led a lonely existence. She grows up with dazzling beauty and eventually falls in love with a handsome painter named Nguyen (Binh Minh), but Nguyen also charms a wealthy girl (Hong Anh) who is extremely jealous and vindictive. Once she finds out about Muoi’s relationship with Nguyen, she has Muoi’s ankle broken and face disfigured by something like acid in an utterly gruesome manner. Shortly afterwards, on the 15th day of the lunar calendar (the full moon day), with full grudge of social isolation, terrible maltreating and a current horrible face, Muoi hangs herself to return as a ghost out for revenge. Eventually, village monks are able to capture Muoi’s vengeful spirit and seal it within her portrait by a hairpin.When Yoon-hee hears about a mystery of the portrait of Muoi from her best friend Seo-yeon in Vietnam, she goes there to meet her friend. However mysterious things occur as they try to uncover the secret of Muoi’s portrait.
Upon investigation, Yun-hee knows a Korean professor who was some years ago involved in the curse’s research and also a friend of Seo-yeon. The professor has disappeared without any clue. Finally, after a long time of horrors throughout the exploration, she finds out a terrible fact that Muoi’s spirit was stuck with him and transferred into Seo-yeon. His bloody corpse falls into Yun-hee when she discovers a secret chamber in Seo-yeon’s villa. Coming down the subway, she finds a recorded tape made by the professor with an incantation to call Muoi’s spirit. At the end, he counts from one to ten in Vietnamese (Muoi means Ten originally) and the portrait appears in the dark with Muoi’s corpse emerging from the picture. Muoi is now awakened and chases Yun-hee while she tries her last energy to exit the chamber. At the end of her way, she finds her friend Seo-yeon standing together with Muoi’s sudden disappearance. Seo-yeon insists Yun-hee to kill her by a hairpin as she is marred by the ghost. Tearfully, Yun-hee then stabs her friend. However, Seo-yeon suddenly laughs out loud, signing that Muoi is now transferred into Yun-hee. Without struggle, Yun-hee was highly hanged and entered by Muoi.Yun-hee smirks after avenging Seo-yeon’s betraying lover. She turns around and sees the ghost of hong she disappears into the painting just to be found again.