Even those with a passing interest in K-pop likely know about the “sha sha sha” craze that rocked South Korea (and subsequently Asia) the summer of 2016 when TWICE released their viral hit “Cheer Up”.
However, what fans might have missed is that the MV is chock full of famous film references – namely, each member portrays pop culture icons from famous films.
Since we’re approaching the three year anniversary of the song’s release (April 2019!), let’s take a look back.
Nayeon – Casey Becker (Scream)
While most sites attribute Nayeon’s character to be Scream heroine Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell in the classic horror film), it’s more likely that she is portraying the film series’ first victim Casey Becker, played by famous actress Drew Barrymore.
Nayeon’s outfit (and white phone) is more reminiscent of the doomed Casey than that of “final girl” Sidney. Though it’s likely the confusion stemmed from the fact that unlike poor Casey, Nayeon (like Sidney) was able to live to see another day in the MV’s storyline.
Mina – Itsuki Fujii (Love Letter)
Mina embraces her Japanese heritage by portraying the heroine Itsuki Fujii from the 1995 Japanese film Love Letter. The film is about lost love, (semi) mistaken identity, and about second chances.
As an additional tie in to the film, Mina can be seen holding various love letters throughout her various solo scenes in the MV.
Tzuyu – Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)
Tzuyu portrays the glamorous role of the naïve, eccentric socialite Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) in the 1961 classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Although the film itself is not black and white (though much of the promotional material was), Tzuyu’s black dress and pearls definitely reference the iconic outfit Hepburn made famous in the film.
Sana – Sailor Moon/Usagi Tsukino
Like Mina, Sana embraces her Japanese background (and her kooky personality) to portray the “champion of justice” Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon from the Sailor Moon anime.
Armed with her twin blonde ponytails with “meatball”-style buns, Sana cutely embodies the anime heroine to perfection.
Momo – Lara Croft and Alice (Tomb Raider and Resident Evil)
Momo is one of the few members who does not portray a specific pop culture character, but instead is an mix of both heroines from popular action franchises Tomb Raider and Resident Evil.
Momo’s two pistols mirror the classic weapon of choice for Tomb Raider heroine Lara Croft, while the outfit is closer to that of Alice from the Resident Evil film franchise (who herself has wielded dual pistols for a time).
Jeongyeon – Faye (Chungking Express)
Jeongyeon perfectly recreates both the character Faye and the famous scene from the 1994 Hong Kong film Chungking Express. In the film, Faye breaks into her love interest’s room and holds an impromptu dance party to the classic 60’s track “California Dreamin’” from The Mamas and The Papas.
Jihyo – Cheerleader (Inspired by Bring It On)
While Jihyo doesn’t play a specific character from the famous cheerleading film, her “scene” is very similar to the film’s opening montage where the Rancho Carne Toros do their first cheer of the film.
Chaeyoung – Cowboy (Inspired by A Fistful of Dollars)
Chaeyoung also does not play any specific pop culture character, but her “scene” takes inspiration from many popular western films. Most notably, the classic Clint Eastwood film A Fistful of Dollars is the main inspiration for her scenes.
Dahyun – Hwang Jini (from Hwang Jini)
Dahyun portrays famous courtesan (also known as a gisaeng) Hwang Jini, one of the most famous figures from the Joseon Dynasty. The film, released in 2007, tells the story of Hwang and her life during a time where social class dictated one’s legacy.
While the MV concept wasn’t the main focus of discussion during the heyday of “Cheer Up”, it was obviously seen as successful for the group.
They even recorded a special “Avengers” MV of the song, with every member in their costumes!
TWICE would later revisit the “film references” concept for their “What Is Love?” MV, released in 2018.