Jannicke, Morten Tobias, Eirik, Mikael and Ingunn are on a snowboarding vacation in Jotunheimen. They are forced to take shelter in an abandoned hotel when Morten Tobias breaks his leg and ... See full summary »
Ingrid Bolsø Berdal,
Rolf Kristian Larsen,
Tomas Alf Larsen
Anna Rydell returns home to her sister (and best friend) Alex after a stint in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother, aloof father, and the presence of a ghost in their home.
Eight unsuspecting high school seniors at a posh boarding school, who delight themselves on playing games of lies, come face-to-face with terror and learn that nobody believes a liar - even when they're telling the truth.
After finding that her husband is unfaithful and cheats her with a lover, Sun-jae moves to a decadent cheap apartment at Goksung Station with her daughter Han Tae-soo. While traveling home in the subway, Sun-jae finds a pair of red shoes and brings them home. Tae-soo becomes fascinated by the shoes, which brings greed and jealousy to whoever sees them, while Sun-jae has visions and nightmares with ghosts and blood. When her friend Kim-mi Hee steals the shoes, she has an accident and dies. Meanwhile, the architect decorator Cho-in Choi that is dating Sun-jae, researches and discloses that the mystery is related to a picture of 1944. His further investigation unravels the tragic fate of the original owner of the shoes. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mommy loves Tae-soo very much... But mommy really hates when Tae-soo lies.
It's not a lie! Daddy really came! He said he's too cold and to take him out!
Don't lie to me!... I told you that daddy couldn't come here. How can he? I told you he can't come here, so how could he? How can he?... Why did you lie? Why did you lie?
[Sun-jae realizes what she had done to her daughter and hugs her]
Tae-soo. Tae-soo... Tae-soo, I'm sorry. Mommy was wrong......
[...] See more »
Somehow my dislike of Korean films has never had much influence on my appreciation of Korean horror. It's considered a part of the Asian suspense wave but at the same time it's substantially different from its neighboring countries. I never expect too much of these films, but watching Bunhongsin was actually a very welcome surprise. While the film remains well within the boundaries of the genre, it proved one of the best outings out there.
The thing that links most Asian horror films are the slender, pale ghosts with long, black hair draped in front of their faces. They aren't exactly lacking in Bunhongsin, but that's where the similarities end. While J-Horror often craves ugly ultra-realism and scares, their Korean counterparts are extremely stylized and fare on a solid dramatic base.
Underneath the horror lies a tale about adultery and the tough life of a single mother raising a young daughter, craving her dad. This core story is actually pretty well developed and receives its fair share of screen time. Above that lies a story about haunted shoes going after whoever tries to steal them from their rightful owner. And the curse itself is of course due to a tragic event in the past.
Like I said, if you've seen a few Korean horror films before, there's nothing that will shock or surprise you here. The films plays according to the genre rules and does little to cross those artificial boundaries. On the other hand, that's exactly why it'll be called a true genre film in 20 years time.
So why all the fuss? Well, even though there are some small hick-ups, the presentation of the film is seemingly perfect. Visually the film is nothing less than impressive. The use of lighting is magnificent, with lots of flashing lights, toned-down colors, neon lighting and a Doyle-like choice of scenery, making this a very colorful film while remaining its dark edge.
Shots and framing are equally strong, with many strong images resulting in memorable scenes. The music is just as impressive, with many different choices of music, all of them suiting the scenes they are set to, always improving the intended atmosphere. The only critique lies in the editing, which could've been a bit tighter, and the range of styles and effects applied, making the style of the film a little too chaotic. But those are really just minor quirks.
One thing to keep in mind is that Bunhongsin isn't exactly the most scary film out there. Maybe it's because I'm used to this kind of horror film by now, but don't expect many scares or extreme suspense. The tension is held well and the atmosphere is spot on, but Bunhongsin is probably better described as a tense supernatural thriller than a real horror movie. Not that it matters much, but it's often good to approach films like these with the correct expectations.
The ending is pretty cool (especially the short second ending), the film never bores, remains beautiful throughout and is just plain good at everything it tries and does. So if you're looking for an excellent genre film, Bunhongsin is probably a very good bet. Lush visuals, pretty score and a good solid story to drag you through the slower parts. Very nice surprise indeed. 4.0*/5.0*
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