UNITEDKPOP FILM GUIDE NETFLIX FILM FESTIVAL IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE UNITEDKPOP
Netflix Feature: Oldboy
Netflix Feature: 71: Into The Fire
Baby and Me
Castaway On The Moon
Going By The Book
My Wife Is A Gangster
Ultimate Korean Horror Guide
A Tale Of Two Sisters
UNITEDKPOP NETFLIX FILM FESTIVAL
F E AT U R E OLDBOY
EVEN THOUGH I’M NO MORE THAN A
MONSTER DON’T I, TOO, HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE?
OH DAE SU This film is the second instalment in The Vengeance Trilogy, and follows the story of a man named Oh Dae Su. Dae Su is abducted on the night of his young daughter’s birthday and confined in a hotel-like prison. He is kept in solitary confinement with no human contact, and is never given an explanation for why he was kidnapped. After exactly fifteen years of imprisonment , he is released on a rooftop, again with no explanation.
He sets out, determined to find why he had been abducted and confined to that room for fifteen years, but along the way meets and becomes attracted to a young woman named Mi Do. It is a long and difficult journey for Dae Su to discover the reasons behind his abduction, and it leads him to an understanding of the terrible ramifications of careless actions in his youth.
After watching this film it is easy to see how it made a name for itself as one of the most recognised Korean thrillers. It has a very unusual premise and enough horrific twists and turns in the plot to keep you on your toes all the way through. There are also a fair few moments of dark humour throughout the film, and itâ€™s just enough to give this film an incredibly interesting feel.
If youâ€™re a fan of the Saw movies, you might also enjoy this film; in some ways the plots have some similarities, as someone gets locked up with no real reason. There is a fair amount of blood, gore and generally unsettling scenarios and content in this film, and those of you with a delicate nature should perhaps steer clear of Oldboy. However, this movie is most definitely a classic, and any fan of Korean cinema should watch it at least once.
UNITEDKPOP NETFLIX FILM FESTIVAL
F E AT U R E 7 1 : I N TO TH E FI R E
71: Into the Fire is a 2010 South based on true events during the Korean War. It was written by Lee Man Hee and directed by John .H. Lee. During the Korean War, the North and South engaged in a bloody fight with one another. The North were strong and organised, slowly taking hold of provinces in the South 1-by-1. The dictator of the North believed that Korea should be one whole country under his power and would do all he could to get his way. South Korean forces became dangerously depleted and the situation became so desperate that the only option was to recruit any and all able-bodied men to fight, regardless of their severe lack of training or experience. This film is based on the true story of a group of 71 student soldiers and their efforts to defend Pohangdong Girls’ Middle School from the advancing North Korean forces. The inexperienced soldiers managed to keep the opposing forces at bay for 11 hours on August 11th 1950. However, all those student soldiers lost their lives on that day. The film introduces the character Oh Jung Bum (Choi Seung Hyun/T.O.P) – a young man that has fought briefly in the war and survived only by the skin of his teeth thus far. He is an incredibly quiet and timid person that is still reeling from his experiences
on the battlefield and grieving for a friend that may not have died had he only been a more competent fighter. Jung Bum is thrust into a role as leader of the 70 student soldiers due to the fact that he is the most experienced of all stationed at the middle-school. He is introduced to a group of cocky and aggressive delinquents, apparently led by the arrogant Ku Kap Jo (Kwon Sang Woo) and they all seem to be unwilling to obey anyone’s orders. Jung Bum is in for an even tougher time than he had previously expected. The film focuses on the more on the emotional side brought on by warfare rather than the technical and strategic sides. Meaning a lack of knowledge on the subject is not a hindrance to enjoyment. This seems a better stance for the filmmakers to take in their aim to highlight the heroism and amazing bravery of the 71 soldiers. This really shows how honorable these men were for fighting for their country. The acting in this film is incredible. The actors really submerged themselves into their roles and communicated complicated mix of emotions that the young men would have probably felt. Don’t assume you’re hearing biased BIGBANG fans’ opinions on this film, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Despite being an idol, T.O.P really did show his talent in this film, along with every other actor that worked on the large-scale production.
The film shows the immense sadness and tragedy of the event. It hooks you in emotionally and illustrates how very brave and courageous these men were. There was some beauty in the comradeship that the conflict brought out of the soldiers and some heartwrenching sadness in the fact that these men were so very young and so very inexperienced in what they were doing. Viewers will likely experience an array of emotions before the credits roll. If you’re looking for a great mix of drama and action this film is most definitely for you, even if you’re not usually a viewer of war films give this one a try, you might just be surprised by what you see.
I ’LL DIE
DEFENDING OH JUNG BUM
Jang Geun Suk has something very charismatic about him, and certainly offers a lot of that charisma to his role as rebellious high school student Han Joon Soo in Baby and Me. Joon Soo’s bad behaviour had led his parents into a state of such despair that they decided to run away and let him realise the affect his actions have when he is left to deal with the consequences alone. Naturally, to the viewer, this seems like a very extreme measure to take in order to shock your child into good behaviour, but this is a comedy. As you may expect of any rebellious teenager worth his salt, Joon Soo sees this as an opportunity to have a big party and rushes out to his local supermarket to stock up on alcohol. BUT THEN - he turns around to find a cute baby boy in a trolley, left alone with a note saying his name is Han Woo-Ram (Mason Mun) and that he is none other than Joon Soo’s son, now to be left in his care by the mother who simply cannot cope any longer. A somewhat unwanted voice of reason and morality in Joon Soo’s life is provided by Kim Byeol (Byeol Kim). She is independent and powerful but also brings the film the
infatuation she has for Joon-Soo from the very start, a common theme in Korean drama and film. The way that the film tackles deeper and more emotional problems that arise from the narrative is really great. I think it will manage to get any viewer immersed. Baby Woo-Ram is voiced by Park Myeong-Su. At first you may find the voice a little unusual. Myeong-su is a good choice for the baby’s voice and really provides the comedy the role requires. Although sporting a fairly simple narrative it does have depth in the lessons the characters learn. It’s an entertaining and heart-warming watch.
PARENTS ARE ALL THE
SAME, YOUNG OR OLD.
IF THE KID IS SICK, THE PARENTS FEEL
THE PAIN TOO.
Baby AND ME
The title of the film pretty much gives away what this film is all about; a married man who stays at home and looks after his child while his wife goes out to work. This film has some laugh out loud moments, contrasted against the strains of marriage when one person is under appreciated. The premise of ‘Mr Housewife’ is that the male lead, Jin Man, finds himself out of pocket when a bit of ‘private financing’ doesn’t work out for him as his neighbour leaves the country so she doesn’t have to pay him back any money that he leant him. As is typical in Korean films and dramas, the money that he leant to his neighbour was the money that the couple had saved and supposedly wisely invested which will now be used to pay for an operation her father needs.
In an attempt to recover his losses and replace the money before his wife can find out, Jin Man enters a television quiz show called ‘Quiz Queen’, which is designed for housewives. With a few serious scenes in the film that attempt to highlight the social stigma attached to ‘househusbands’ in Korea, there is a great contrast to the amusing scenes of the male lead taking part in activities that a mother and a housewife would normally do, such as; knowing the secret to getting stains out, cooking enviable dishes and even being part of an all-women’s running club. This film still manages to provide a sweet and amusing plot that is quite heartwarming from start to finish.
SWEET AND AMUSING PLOT THAT
IS ACTUALLY QUITE HEART-WARMING. ASHLEIGH GREGORY P15
GREAT EXPERIENCE WITH SCENOGRAPHY
AND SOUNDTRACK. ABOUTTHEMOVIES This is definitely an offbeat romantic comedy, and nothing about the events of the film or the characters is remotely regular. Cheesy rom-cons are popular, and you may be familiar with the K-drama feeling of boy-meets-girl, they fall in love, something bad happens but they are reunited in the end. This film is nothing like that; it is unique and incredibly refreshing story. The beginning of the film starts off with the male lead jumping off a bridge in an attempt to drown himself as he is in an enormous amount of debt, and has no way to pay it back. His suicide attempt fails as he finds himself washed up on the shore of a deserted island just outside of Seoul. With a broken phone and unable to swim, he is unable to get himself back to the mainland that is directly in front of him.
The female lead is addicted to the Internet, and has not left her apartment in over three years. She is afraid to go outside and dislikes being around anybody, and as such lives her entire life in her bedroom. One fateful day she is looking out at the streets of Seoul, and through her telescope she happens to catch sight of the male lead trapped on the island. She becomes intrigued by him and tries to overcome her fears so that she might be able to communicate with him. The overall theme of this film is hope, and even though the characters seem at times to be living bleak and unfulfilling lives, their unlikely clandestine encounters bring new hope and happiness to their lives. Despite the characters being oddballs, they are extremely likeable, and you will find yourself laughing with them and cheering them along with their every small accomplishment. This film is definitely for you if you like fairly light-hearted yet original comedies with a bonus of a hopeful love story weaving throughout.
Castaway on the moon
Going by the book
This film is an absolute gem as it has a refreshing and funny story line that provides amusement throughout the whole film. It is a Police film about a demoted Detective, Do Man, who is incredibly serious and staid in everything that he does. With the sudden increase in local bank robberies and the arrival of a new regional Chief Of Police who is eager to prove himself, the Police force are tasked with a new style of training; they will simulate a bank robbery to teach bank workers how to act in case of a real heist. Do Man is hand-selected by the new Chief to play the part of a bank robber, and with great pride and seriousness he intensely researches about real life and fictional robberies in an attempt to make it as real to life as possible.
When the fake robbery is put into motion, the Chief realises very quickly that he did not factor in to account that Do Man was ordered to make this heist realistic, and that’s exactly what he does. As the hours tick by, the Chief’s stress rises and hilarity ensues as the national press starts to take an interest in the police training. If you are looking for a little light entertainment yet an endearing character Going By The Book may be for you. Despite Do Man seemingly taking thing too far at times, you can’t help but be impressed at how much work and thought he has put into everything he does. He is an admirable character who is so sincere about everything he does; you’ll probably even find him quite funny.
PACKING IN PLENTY OF LAUGHS AND EXCITEMENT. BEYONDHOLLYWOOD
A romantic comedy with a tragic edge, and if you’ve ever seen ‘P.S I Love You’ you will be able to draw a few parallels between these two films. Even if you’re not a fan of sad films the storyline is really beautiful and has enough comedic interjections to carry you through. It has a taste of Romeo and Juliet to it, as from the very beginning it is made clear that someone dies as the male lead takes the role of narrator for about the first half of the film. It is the unlikely story over an overzealous police officer, Kyungjin, and a high school Physics teacher, Kyungwoo, whose paths end up crossing more than once due to hilarious misunderstandings and accidents. They bond quickly and start dating, and they decide to go travelling around the country for a while. A great part of the film is when Kyungjin ends up telling Kyungwoo the origins of a pinkie
promise, which while it seems a little silly and fluffy at the time, it has great effect on the rest of the film. This is a film you should you should see to appreciate the storyline rather than read a plot summary from us. It has a fair bit of action mixed with bittersweet partings and promises that really didn’t fail to capture attention. If you like films that make you cry, then this film is for you. Even if you’re still not convinced you might want to give this movie a go, we’d highly recommend it.
IF ONLY I CAN
EVEN AS THE WIND.
A TRULY ENGAGING STORY. THE TELEGRAPH
This film is a completely quirky tearjerker about a boy and a girl who become childhood friends, but end up growing apart from each other. It starts off and pretty much remains light-hearted all the way through as their friendship slowly blossoms into romance, and it definitely contains some classic Korea drama-style themes. It starts off with an odd little girl, Ari, starting a new school. She tells her class that she is cursed and not to touch her or else they’ll get hurt. Ari makes one friend, Jo Kang, who is adamant that he isn’t afraid of getting hurt as he wants to be her friend. Ari soon moves away and they grow up apart but the film follows how they keep finding each a few times over the next 15 years or so. Love Phobia revolves around Jo Kang’s love for Ari
and his attempts to mould himself into the perfect match for her as he spends his life constantly waiting until he sees her again. Ari is a loveable character who since childhood has believed herself to be an alien, and this childish assertion of hers is quite cute until it becomes clear that it has always been her way of dealing with heartbreaking circumstances. This film is recommended to anyone who likes sad romances, or even someone who wants to watch an unconventional romance. This isn’t going to appeal to you if you hate any kind of sad ending, but if you’re ever in the mood for a weepy film with a very sweet storyline then Love Phobia is for you.
KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES. This film is an adaptation of the popular webcomic ‘Love Story’, and many people may have seen this film seeing as Super Junior’s Kang In is one of the leading men. For the most part you may find yourself forgetting that this film even contains a few idols and even enjoying this movie. Don’t let the idol-comeactor headliners put you off. Hello, Schoolgirl follows the lives of four different people who end up coming to know each other throughout the
course of the film; Yeon Woo, Soo Young, Kang Suk and Ha Kyung. Yeon Woo, a civil servant, and Soo Young, a high school student begin to get involved after a few chance meetings. Kang Suk, another civil servant, and Ha Kyung, a melancholy woman who takes joy in photography have a fairly one-sided relationship with Kang Suk trying his best to get close to her but she keeps rebuffing him. They are mismatched couples with all kinds of obstacles who shouldn’t really work out, but you can’t help cheering for them. This is a very light-hearted film for most of the film, but it does lightly deal with some deeper issues, such as age differences in relationships. It is an engaging film that tackles certain issues in a refreshing and uncontrived way, and as such would definitely recommend this film to anyone and everyone, unless romance is not your cup of tea; when it comes down to it, this is pure romance.
The film description for Punch Lady could put you off. Donâ€™t let it, it would be a great shame to miss such a brilliant drama because of the delicate issues it bases itself around. The film tackles domestic violence and spousal abuse but there are plenty of comedic moments and light hearted scenes that allow for the harsh reality to be forgotten at times. Punch Lady revolves around Ha Eun, who is the battered housewife of Joo Chang, a boxer. The movie is about her finally reaching her breaking point when her husband has begun to turn his hand to their daughter and
even kills another man in the ring, and in a very rare burst of unusual confidence she ends up publically challenging him to an organised fight. As a viewer you feel the realistic nature of the domestic violence and the way it is dealt with, as Ha Eun finds no immediate fix to her self-esteem problems or even a way to get over the terror instilled by the mere presence of her husband. Punch Lady is a riveting and genuinely worthwhile film to watch for all audiences that be interested in a film with such a sensitive topic.
ENTERTAIN WITHOUT EVER LOSING SIGHT OF ITS ESSENTIALLY HUMAN DRAMA. BEYONDHOLLYWOOD
This is definitely a classic Korean film and is a must-see for any fan of Korean cinema. It contains a lot of action and even has two sequels, which have mixed reviews despite having their own unique charms. This is an action movie with a fair amount of comedy to lighten some of the tragic plot. The whole concept of this film is that high-level gangster, Eun Jin, feels obligated to get married as it is the final wish of her dying sister, Yu Jin. After a few failed attempts at blind dating, she manages to stumble across the witless Soo Il who is the answer to her problems. Their awkward relationship is quite funny as Soo Il comes to terms with business his new wife is in, and does well to relieve some of the action and violence of the film.
If you are a gangster or action movie fan then this film is definitely for you. This is the kind of film that at first glance you might instantly label as a male oriented film, but with a strong, female lead and some family issues, it could appeal to anyone. If you really enjoy the first instalment then perhaps youâ€™ll consider watching the two sequels.
REFRESHING AND THROUGHLY
My Wife Is A Gangster
e t a m i t Ul r o K P30
e n a re r o r r Ho RECOMMENDATION COLLECTION
MAN HAS MADE
This film is a monster movie, but it also contains political commentary on the implications of the American military presence in South Korea. The film begins with an American military pathologist commanding his reluctant Korean assistant to violate protocol by dumping over 200 bottles of formaldehyde down the drain instead of disposing of them properly. This waste ends up in the Han River, and over the next few years, there are sightings of a strange amphibious creature in the water ways. Six years later, Gang-du (Song Kangho) is a seemingly dim-witted man who runs a small snack bar with his father, Hee-bong (Byeon Hee-bong). One day while Gang-du is delivering food to some customers, he sees people crowded along the Han River. Together
they witness a huge creature hanging from a bride, which then dives into the water. At first, it seems as though the creature has swum away, which leads to the public trying to bait it back with food. But very quickly the creature rises out of the river and starts to wreak havoc. Quickly Gang-du realises that his daughter isn’t with him, and he turns around in time to see the creature snatch Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-seong) and dive back into the river. With the threat of the creature and the deadly virus it is hosting looming, Gangdu goes in search for his daughter who he is convinced has survived. He buys weapons and a map of the sewers, and heads into the unknown. The unique bleakness of the protagonists’ anguish and the unrelenting gore and terror that lace through the plotline give this film some of the many characteristics which make Korean horror so successful. You may find yourself hiding behind your hands at times if you’re a little squeamish, but if you’re a fan of monster films The Host is a film you shouldn’t miss.
TRULY A FANTASTIC, ARTISTIC
PIECE OF MOVIE-MAKING. THE TIMES
A Tale Of Two Sisters is a supernatural horror movie inspired by the ancient Korean folktale ‘Jangha and Hongryun’.
something ominous to come so that when the supernatural aspects manifest themselves, it is almost unexpected.
Unsurprisingly enough, this film follows the lives of two young sisters, Su Mi (Im Su Jung) and Su Yeon (Moon Geun Yeong), who are returning home after being hospitalised following their mother’s death. In the time that they have been away their father has married an emotionally unbalanced woman that the sisters despise, and amidst all the animosity filling the house between the girl’s and their stepmother, strange and violent visions begin to disturb Su Mi. This leads her to believe that their new stepmother is harbouring a dark secret.
At some points, it is also unclear whether what you’re seeing is something to fear until it is too late.
This film can appear genuinely quite frightening, as throughout the film there is a constant feel and threat of
The major twists and turns along the way are sometimes sent to confuse you, certain plot lines are hinted at, but when the truth of the situation finally reveals itself you realise just how gruesome and macabre the tale is. A dark, supernatural horror film; complete with creepy apparitions and sinister plotlines. Maybe not the most terrifying film you’ll see, but you might be tempted to sleep with the light on.
A Tale of Two Sisters
The film starts out a little lighthearted as we are introduced to the protagonist, Chul Min, adoting father working hard to care for his sick daughter, who makes a meager living bydriving his truck. He seems a fairly pitiable character who lives for his daughter, and always only just manages to scrape by.
task, and he struggles to keep himself together in the face of this nightmare. This film is intriguing and compelling, and it has you rooting for the main character all the way through. With so many twists and turns in the plot line, you are kept interested and quite unsure of how everything will end.
With his daughter in desperate need of a life-saving operation, Chul Min lets his friend talk him into gambling what little money he has saved up to try and win the full amount of money needed. When bad luck falls upon him, he flies into a fit of rage chasing after the friend who persuaded him to gamble his savings away, but he stumbles across something that he was never meant to see and it changes his life forever.
From the moment Chul Min stumbles into that room, there is an incredible amount of violence and gore. Whether thrillers are your cup of tea or not, this is a film that comes highly recommended. Despite being a very dark film it is thoroughly enjoyable.
He is promised the money he needs for his daughterâ€™s operation in return for him fulfilling one task, and his Truck is used for a purpose that it was never meant for. His situation gets more and more dire as he has no choice but to pick up a stranger not long into his
Cinderella follows the lives of a mother, Yoon Hee (Do Ji Won), and her daughter, Hyun Su (Shin Se Kyung), who are very close and have a good relationship with each other. Yoon Hee is a plastic surgeon, and a fair few of Hyun Su’s friends have been to her mother for surgery. The film starts out with one of Hyun Su’s friends being prepared for surgery, but as she is being put under she sees something sinister. This chilling vision follows her even after the surgery is completed and she has fully healed; she begins to hear a voice and even sees her own face changing when she looks in a mirror. She slowly begins to go mad, and as Hyun Su is coming to terms with the fact that something is really wrong, it is too late. Similar things
start to happen to a other friends who have also had surgery by Yoon Hee, and Hyun Su starts to suspect that her mother knows more then she is letting on. This leads Hyun Su on a journey of dark discoveries and horrifically life changing findings. You will begin to see that nothing is what it appears to be at first, and you make chilling discoveries along with Hyun Su. The plot line is also refreshing. The love a mother has for her child is a truly awing thing, but this film showcases the dangerous and obsessive lengths to which a mother’s love can reach. Cinderella delivers both the dark and gory aspects of horror films superbly.
THE BLOODSHED AND TWISTED STORYLINE
WILL LIKELY KEEP VIEWERS WITH THE FILM FROM START TO FINISH. JOHNNY BUTANE - DREAD CENTRAL
CONTAINS TRUE ELEMENTS OF WHAT
MADE ASIAN HORROR SOMETHING TO FEAR.
ASHLEIGH GREGORY The title may not be one that strikes fear into your heart from the outset, and considering this film revolves around a possessed wig it’s easy to understand why many say this film is an example of typical Asian horror cinema. The Wig does present the viewer with some deep and upsetting concepts, such as living with Cancer, Chemotherapy and distressed relationships to name a few, which give this film a truly morbid overtone. The Wig mainly follows the lives of two sisters; Su Hyun who is battling Leukaemia and her older sister Ji Hyun who is mute due to throat impalement
as a result of a car accident. Ji Hyun has made the decision to bring her ill sister to live with her, rather than staying in the hospital, and decides to buy Su Hyun a wig as the Chemotherapy has left her bald. While wearing the wig, Su Hyun starts to make a miraculous recovery and begins to feel more confident, and even looks much prettier than before. Slowly but surely her personality begins to change too, and she starts to become much more aggressive and even makes a move on her sisters exboyfriend.Tensions are heightened and relationships become more strained than ever as it becomes apparent that they all got more than they bargained for when Ji Hyun bought the wig, including Ji Hyun’s ex-boyfriend. This dark and chilling film contains true elements of what made Asian horror something to fear, and is definitely a notable title in this genre. Supernatural horror packed with human misfortune, vengeful ghosts and disturbing gore. Don’t judge this one by its title.
UNIQUE STORYLINE IN
A UNIQUE SETTING. This film is about Sun Young (Soo Ae) who is a DJ for a midnight show on a radio station. She had decided to leave her job to be able to take her young daughter out to America to be able to have heart surgery. On her last day of work, her sister babysits the children at Sun Youngâ€™s apartment, and during the radio show Sun Young receives a phone call from a man named Dong Soo (Yoo Ji Tae) who is her fan. Things start to turn from bad to worse when he reveals that he is in her apartment and has taken her family hostage, and if she doesnâ€™t meet his demands then he will kill them. He wants her to play the list of songs that he wants to hear on the radio show and say the things
he wants to hear, and the film follows Sun Young as she struggles to fulfil the demands he gives her with little instructions, knowing that if she gets it wrong, her family will die. The events that lead Dong Soo up to this point are interesting and incredibly thought provoking. From the moment Sun Young receives that terrible first phone call the film is fraught with tension and terror that never lets up, and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the credits roll. The situation in Midnight F.M. is a chilling thought, but not the kind of horror that is going to leave you wanting to sleep with the light on. So if you prefer the lighter end of horror maybe this is the one for you.
Phone is a supernatural horror film packed with bone chilling paranormal scenes. Reviews vary as to how scary this film actually is but it could leave you feeling wary of those little noises you hear in your house. Phone is about a reporter called Ji Won, who has recently written a series of articles exposing the issue of paedophilia and its related sex trafficking. She begins receiving threatening phone calls and horrific emails of a drawing of a woman with a likeness to herself being murdered, and it appears to be the doing of one of the men named in her articles. She changes her number and even moves into the spare house of her friends Ho Jung and Chang Hoon in Bang Bae, but eerie phone calls and messages on her computer seemed to have followed her. These new phone calls consist of white noise and a woman screaming on the other end and seem to be from someone else entirely. When Ho Jung and Chang Hoon’s young daughter, Young Su, picks up one of these calls she is left terrified, and slowly her behaviour starts to change; she begins to show an attraction to her own father and rejects her mother.
Meanwhile, Ji Won keeps receiving the strange phone calls, and has even seen and heard a girl playing ‘Moonlight Sonata’ in the house. After investigating her new phone number, Jiwon discovers that the original owner of the number, Jin Hee, had vanished and the two next owners of the number have mysteriously died in unusual circumstances. This film contains all the classic elements of real Asian horror; the long-haired spirit, bonechilling messages and possession. Phone is definitely a film to see if you’re a fan of supernatural horror.
THE LAST CALL YOU’LL EVER GET. P45
Thirst revolves around a priest called Sang Hyun who is well respected for his unwavering faith and dedicated service, but unbeknownst to his parishioners he is plagued with feelings of doubt. He volunteers to take part in a medical experiment to cure ‘Emmanuel Virus’, but unfortunately it goes massively wrong and he becomes infected with the fatal disease. After a blood transfusion that miraculously cures him and a series of unusual events, Sang Hyun finds himself a vampire with unfamiliar desires and capabilities. He gains a lot of attention from devout parishioners as they claim that he must have healing capabilities. He tries to come to terms with his new situation, but things become even more difficult when he starts to fall for the wife of one of his long-time friends.
This film tackles the subject of vampire from a different perspective, and is interestingly about more than just his transformation. It does have the classic gore and brutality of the vampire genre in places, but Thirst also showcases an elicit love affair, quite a refreshing addition to this particular horror film. You won’t find pretty boys with fangs and super choreographed fight scenes in Thirst. What you will find is violence, blood and some full-on nudity. Don’t shy away from Thirst because the vampire isn’t the current Hollywood norm. Park Chan Wook’s take on vampire lore is one you should add to your watch list.
THIS FERVID EXTRAVAGANZA IS EASILY
PARK’S BEST FILM SINCE OLDBOY. DAILY TELEGRAPH
REAL SENSE OF LIVELINESS
AND YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE.
BEYONDHOLLYWOOD This movie is set in a Korean high school, and focuses on the escapades of two characters; Jung Hoon who is the best student in the school, and Da Jung who every student avoids due to her scary Sadako-like looks (the girl from The Ring) and rumoured supernatural tendencies. Jung Hoon is the best student in the school, but his rival, Tae Gyu, takes every opportunity to try and knock him down â€“ be it physically or verbally. It is very well known between the students that Jung Hoon and Tae Gyu are enemies, but one afternoon Tae Gyu pushes Jung Hoon too far. Their altercation ends with Jung Hoon threatening Tae Gyu with a knife, a situation witnessed by another student, but Jung Hoon walks away before carrying out his threat. Shortly before the beginning of the 4th period class,
Jung Hoon returns to the classroom only to find Tae Gyu dead. In shock he picks up the bloody murder weapon, only to have Da Jung enter the classroom and find him in this incriminating position. Luckily Da Jung believes that he is innocent, and even offers to help him find the real killer. They only have forty minutes on the clock before the next lesson starts and their classmates will return to their classroom, so they must race against time to figure out what really happened. They set out in search of the murderer, realising that anyone could be the suspect, but even worse is that the murderer seems to be after them too. 4th Period is a gentle horror genre introduction, and contains no supernatural elements. It is a thriller with a mild dose of gore, and thoroughly enjoyable as you watch the two race against the clock to prove his innocence. It also ties in a slightly romantic storyline with it, as you see the two main characters get close as they spend this tense time with each other.
GOOD TO WATCH ON A
HALLOWEEN NIGHT THE GUARDIAN
This film is a bit of a high school romance, but with a nice helping of gore and tense situations to turn it into a thriller. Cello is about a Music professor called Mi Ju, and the strange events that haunt her after she is almost in a car wreck. One day after finishing her day of teaching, Mi Ju gets ready to leave the campus but an arrogant and discontent student confronts her. This student claims that Mi Ju gave her a bad grade, which prevented her from getting into a prestigious music school, and as such her life is ruined. This student threatens Mi Ju, and from that day onwards (this is also the day of the near-crash) she starts to receive threatening text messages from an unknown number. Things in Mi Ju’s life start to get more and more ghastly, and unsettling
visions and sounds begin to plague her – but everything starts to get worse when she buys a new cello to teach her autistic daughter to play the instrument. Dark secrets from Mi Ju’s past start rising to the surface, as the ghost of someone she once knew seems to be the reason for these terrifying events. Despite this being another ‘vengeful spirit’ movie, it has some unexpected twists and turns. The horror can come when you least expect it and it will keep you guessing the meaning as it goes along. Cello is a little slow paced at times and takes a while to get into the full horror of the movie but you should find it worth the wait if you enjoy particularly dark themes in horror. One upside to this movie, there isn’t that much gore that will have you squirming at the screen during this one.
Whispering Corridors is a film that is widely regarded as one of the most influential Korean horror films as it was part of the explosion in Korean cinema following the liberalisation of censorship in the aftermath of the end of the country’s military dictatorship. Whispering Corridors contains strong social commentary about the authoritarianism and conformity in the South Korean schooling system. The kinds of images we see in popular dramas or films are quite glamourised, and, more often than not, conformity is prioritised over freedom of expression. Students go to school for much longer and the pressures of being a student in South Korea play a large part in the plot line. This film is set in a typical all-girls high school, and starts in the school the night before the first day of a new term. A teacher, Mrs Park, seems to have discovered something strange concerning a pupil who had once attended the school – Jin Ju. Jin Ju had committed suicide in the school nine years previous and it is rumoured that her ghost still haunts the building. Mrs Park attempts to call one of her colleagues, Eun Young, who also used to attend the school and was coincidentally Jin Ju’s best friend. Mrs
Park tries to tell Eun Young that despite Jin Ju having died nine years before, somehow she is still attending school. However, before she is able to tell Eun Young anymore, she is attacked. Eun Young takes it upon herself to look into what has been going on as strange omens start to appear and more people begin to get hurt. Despite not wanting to believe supernatural forces are at work here, the longer she investigates, the more it seems that Jin Ju might be involved in some way. This film has an interestingly stark presentation of the South Korean schooling system and the impact it has upon students and teachers alike. Throughout the film viewers see parallels being drawn from Eun Young’s time as a student to how Ji Oh and the current students are dealt with. At times the real horror of the film seems to be how little things have changed in nine years.
REAL HORROR LIES
IN REAL LIFE
ASHLEIGH GREGORY P53
Memento Mori is the first sequel to Whispering Corridors. A film that splits it’s reviewers you should find that it displays quite a unique and fascinating social commentary about student life in Korea. The topic of particular focus and interest being the ostracising of homosexuals. Memento Mori is set in an all-girls high school and revolves around the relationship between two students, Shi Eun and Hyo Shin. As the two girls become romantically involved, their taboo friendship causes them to be marginalised by the other students. Unable to cope with the social pressures of having a girlfriend, Shi Eun tries to push the increasingly dependent Hyo Shin away. Hyo Shin doesn’t take well to Shi Eun’s change in attitude; she sees it as both a betrayal and rejection. Hyo Shin subsequently commits suicide by jumping off of the school roof. It is also
heavily implied that she was pregnant at the time of death, the father being one of the teachers. After Hyo Shin’s death, supernatural occurrences start to terrorize all of the students that condemned the relationship. Something to remember while watching this film is that it is told in a fairly non-linear fashion, and despite the story being about the tribulations of Shi Eun and Hyo Shin, a good portion of the story is seen from Min Ah’s perspective. The story can seem to jump from place-to-place at times, but this serves to allow pieces of the mystery to fall into place gradually. This is a compelling watch and it is still a horror movie despite the lack of copious gore or violence. It does cross into the uncomfortable territory of suicide, but is free from gruesome horror for viewers who prefer a film that isn’t so gory.
DEFINITELY SUITABLE FOR THOSE OF US
WHO AREN’T FANS OF GRUESOME HORROR. ASHLEIGH GREGORY
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