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Arang (2006)

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A salt storehouse near the sea may be haunted. A penniless ex-con dies a gristly death in a house he can ill afford. The detectives assigned the case are Min, newly reinstated after a ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
So-yeong Choo
Won-joong Jung
Hae-in Kim
Dong-Wook Lee ...
Hyun-ki
Jong-su Lee ...
Dong-min
Yun-ah Song ...
So-young
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Storyline

A salt storehouse near the sea may be haunted. A penniless ex-con dies a gristly death in a house he can ill afford. The detectives assigned the case are Min, newly reinstated after a suspension, and Lee, a new transfer from forensics. Min has nightmares: a sexual assault that haunts her. She and Lee work well together, but soon two more deaths occur - each mysteriously poisoned, both friends of the ex-con. A fourth friend, a newly married doctor, is a suspect. But what has all this to do with the salt storehouse, a death ten years ago, and a missing girl? Can Min and Lee get to the bottom of it, or is the supernatural beyond a cop's reach? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

28 June 2006 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Haunted Village  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Arang is a copycat, but it's different enough to be entertaining
6 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

So-Young is a seasoned female detective who is investigated a series of brutal and unexplainable deaths. Assigned a new partner to take on the case, So-Young unleashes terrifying secrets from the past, which involve a mysterious salt house, and a stereotypical long-haired ghost, which looks as if it might have just walked off the set of The Shutter. Anyway, the deeper So-Young digs for the truth, the more she realizes everyone involved might be a lot more connected that they think.

Arang is one of a long line of Asian horror films that borrow from past successes, in terms of the scares, it's nothing you haven't seen already. This isn't to say the film isn't suspenseful, but it is indicative of most K-Horror, in that it utilizes atmospherics and scary sounds to build tension. There are a few genuinely scary parts (under the desk) but for the most part it's your standard K-horror fare.

But, where Arang differs from past Asian horror is the way the film focuses more on the Detectives working the case than on lives of the actual murder victims. In fact, the victims receive very little screen time and because of this the film resembles a detective story more than a horror story. Asian Horror hounds may find this a little disappointing, but this is the main reason why I liked Arang so much. Because while the horror elements are re-treads of familiar territory, the detective element is engaging and fun.

Another reason to like Arang would be the amazing score, featuring mournful sounding piano, creepy atmospheric synths, and the creepiest ring-tone since One Missed Call, Jung Dong In's score was a highlight of the film (Someone seriously needs to start producing these soundtracks) and makes the film a much more enjoyable watch.

The cinematography was also excellent, and I was blown away by some of the shots in the film, especially those including the beach and a lighthouse. There is also a shot done with CGI towards the end of the film that is outright beautiful. In my book, the film deserves a viewing for that scene alone.

All in all, Arang is a very entertaining piece, while it is bogged down in the typical K-Horror clichés, it's detective story, score, and creative plot twist (Not contrived) helps raise the film above the level of other K-horror copycats, and makes it a fun film. Also considering that it's Ahn Sang Hoon's debut film, I will definitely keep an eye out for his work in the future.

My Rating 7 out of 10: While Arang is a copycat, it's different enough to be entertaining.


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