I know a lot of people around here not only watch new dramas but also regularly rewatch their favorites. As much as I would love to rewatch Healer, Goblin, or Circle, I’m just not the type who can do that. I get emotionally invested in a show, complete the show, write about it online, and then throw it into my “completed” pile. I have a system, and I stick to it because I can’t get my brain to do anything else. If only there was a way I could watch my favorite dramas again and still enjoy them as if I were enjoying them for the first time. What if…?
Wait! There is a way! Well, maybe.
You see, there’s this website called Unspoil Me that claims that once you use it, you’ll be able to rewatch a show of your choice like you’ve never seen it before. It even claims that you can use it more than once. In theory, you could rewatch Boys Over Flowers until you literally die. Unspoil Me’s gimmick is that it hypnotizes you and blocks a show of your choice out of your mind, preventing you from remembering what you watched. I decided that I would use myself as a sort of guinea pig to see if the hypnosis really works. Rather than Boys over Flowers, I'll be testing the website on a short film I watched a few months ago called The Vampire Lives Next Door. It's short, entertaining, and I would definitely be willing to watch it again. Now it's time to forget it.
Warning: Major spoilers for The Vampire Lives Next Door ahead. It's literally only 20 minutes long, so just watch it in two parts here with English and Chinese subs.
The things I do for this website…
First off, I tasked myself with figuring out whether or not I could be hypnotized. After all, I am a bit of a skeptic, so I feared that the hypnosis wouldn’t work on account of me naturally being a humbug. After a little searching, I found this video:
This video tests your susceptibility to suggestion. The hypnotist explains that suggestion relies on the subject having an open mind and being willing to accept what is suggested. In this case, the hypnotist’s goal was to get me to think I was stuck to my chair and unable to get up. So, I sat the way he wanted, started the video, and tried to be as receptive as possible. I admit, I really wanted the video to work.
And it did!
I’m not sure what had me stuck to my seat, whether it be the kind Englishman or my terrible posture, but I definitely had a hard time moving. I suppose this means I’m receptive to suggestion, which significantly increases the chances of Unspoil Me working. I decided that it would be a good idea to write a summary of the film from memory before I tried to forget it. What I jotted down in my notes goes as follows:
The Vampire Lives Next Door takes place after a teenage girl drowns and is brought to a morgue. In the morgue lives a very Johnny Depp-esque vampire played by Ji Sung. The film is likely a reference to the Sewol Ferry disaster. At the end, the girl, played by Park So Dam, takes the vampire’s place running the morgue, hanging out with the dead bodies until someone comes along who can replace her.
Next, I got ready to be hypnotized. I sat comfortably, popped in my earbuds, and turned the lights off. Unspoil Me is 23 minutes long and recommends that you sleep right after for the best effect. It even asks you to confirm that you are 18 years or older and mentally sound enough to go through hypnosis. After blindly checking boxes and making agreements, I started the program.
This time, rather than a kind English man, it was a kind Swedish man. He asked that I focus on the center of the swirling pattern on my screen. He talked to me about what it takes for the mind to focus on something, then asked that I start to count backward from 300, with him guiding me through the first few numbers. He spoke about trees and their roots for a little while, then interrupted my counting. The rest is a bit fuzzy, and I think I might have some events out of order, but that’s okay. If you’re interested in the program to see for yourself what goes on, I have the link right here.
At some point, the hypnotist started to talk about stairs numbered backward from 10 to 0. He told me a story, and at regular intervals would ask that I go down the steps in my mind, going “deeper and deeper” into my hypnotic state. He continued to tell stories, then mentioned trying to forget my TV show, or in my case, my short film.
This was when the hypnosis ground to a halt in my mind. Suddenly, I became very aware of the fact that I was sitting in bed propped up by a pillow while a Swedish man tried to hypnotize me through my laptop. Still, I wanted it to work, so I tried to get back into my relaxed-but-conscious state. Though I certainly wasn’t as chill as before, I wasn’t completely broken out of the hypnosis. The Swede told me to imagine floating just above a timeline, and together we jumped from now to the time before I watched The Vampire Lives Next Door, then to the time in the future when I would watch it again.
The hypnosis ended with the man slowly pushing me out of my relaxed state. At the end of it all, I opened my eyes, looked around my room, and listened to him tell me that going to sleep would improve the effect of the hypnosis. I tried not to think about the short film and did what the man wanted; I put my laptop away and went to sleep. I woke up the next morning, grabbed a muffin and some coffee, and got back to work. I tasked myself with writing another summary of the film without looking at MyDramaList or the summary I wrote just before hypnosis. This is what I came up with:
Ji Sung plays a vampire who lives/works in a morgue. Park So Dam plays a teenager who died in the Sewol Ferry disaster. Eventually the girl replaces the vampire in the morgue, sealing the deal with a kiss. There are also two police officers, but I can’t think of their importance.
Comparing the two summaries, I can say that, if Unspoil Me worked at all, it was very minor. I feel like I knew what the two police officers did before, but I can’t think of it now. Still, it’s not like I couldn’t summarize the film at all. In fact, I can still picture scenes pretty vividly. It didn’t “unspoil” the film, which is unfortunate. Hypnotism is a highly interesting topic, at least for me, and seeing that something that clearly had a lot of money and time spent on it not work is sort of disappointing.
However, I’m not sure that Unspoil Me is legit. It was actually meant to market Samsung’s QLED TV, links to which are easily accessible at all times. Still, even though it was meant to advertise a TV, at no point in the hypnosis is the product mentioned, so it doesn’t feel like advertising. It might not have worked for many reasons. Maybe I’m not as open to suggestion as I thought. Maybe the program really only works for TV shows, though I’m doubtful about that. Maybe I did it wrong. Maybe it’s a sham. Whatever the reason it didn't work might be, in the end, we all know there are doubts about how well the program works.
One thing I did find, though, is that this hypnosis program isn't entirely unique. From a brief search on YouTube, I found another video released about 3 years before that claims to allow viewers to be hypnotized so they can forget bad memories or spoilers. It follows a similar format to Unspoil Me, with a swirling image in the center of the screen, lots of counting, and a recurring theme of going "deeper and deeper". You can watch the video here if you don't believe me when I say Unspoil Me and the other video are oddly similar.
Though I'm doubtful that a giant company like Samsung would copy a video from an amateur hypnotist on YouTube, this sort of thing isn't unheard of. Disney, Forever21, Kohl's, Ford, and Zara all pretty obviously stole the work of indie artists at one point or another. Massive corporations stealing from those too small to defend themselves isn't all that uncommon, so maybe there is some chicanery afoot.
Unspoil Me didn’t work on my skeptical mind, but maybe it’ll be different for you. If you have 23 minutes to spare, try it out and leave a comment below about your experience. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll still come out of your hypnotic state refreshed and relaxed. Let me know what drama you want unspoiled!