…Not Japanese Cinema, mind you.
Now here’s a movie that stood out to me. The South Koreans did it again in this creepily well done horror movie with a great plot and ending twist to boot. Arang is based on a Korean folk tale about a young woman who was conspired to be raped and stabbed to death by her evil nanny. After succeeding, the corpse of the girl would come back to haunt the area in which she was killed. This movie, more or less, is loosely based on that. In a very similar vein to the Thai film, Shutter, this movie is a revenge/horror/thriller/detective film all in one. Let’s get it goin’.
The film starts off in a bit of the surreal, with the main detective
A haunting and surreal feel for a great thriller.
character, So-young (Song Yun-ah) encountering a salt storehouse she’s never seen before. A young girl is outside crying in the rain. Obviously this has some significance to the story right? You would be right in assuming so.
Next we move to a series of murders that appear to be the work of a vengeful ghost out to kill those who wronged her. With the help of her rookie forensics partner, Hyun-gi (Lee Dong-wook), So-young must
The dynamic duo strikes again!
discover the reason for these supernatural killings. The ending may leave you in a state of shock, and I was very happy with the way everything turned out. It’s up there with the satisfying endings of Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance trilogy (currently re-watching now).
The acting in this movie was fairly good. You can always see the American influence on South Korean films and the like (i.e. Gangnam Style being so successful here and whatnot. Particularly, I’m in love with Hyuna). The crime aspect of it and the justice behind it is very
This keeps coming up about the folklore, and I keep laughing at it.
American based, and I hate to attribute that to the Korean War. It’s a jagged pill to swallow, but Koreans just do American style dramatic films better. More than 20 films have affirmed this for me.
It was creepy, but not to the point of scaring me with any of the disturbing images or frightening scenes. This was an underrated film to find on Netflix, and, as per usual, I thank Netflix for providing me with an adequately good selection of foreign films. You can never go wrong with Tartan Extreme films either.
It has been a while since I’ve seen this one, but I do plan on re-watching/buying it. It was a worthwhile film to watch. So check it out at least once. And don’t ever be crushed to death by salt. 8.1 out of 10.
1 Comment | tags: American based, American influence, Arang, corpse, creepy films, crime, detective, disturbing images, dramatic films, evil nanny, folk tale, foreign films, forensics, frightening scenes, Gangnam Style, good acting, good ending twist, great plot, haunting, horror movie, Hyun-gi, Hyuna, jagged pill to swallow, justice, Korean folklore, Korean War, Lee Dong-wook, loosely based, Netflix, Park Chan-wook, revenge, rookie, salt, salt storehouse, series of murders, Shutter, So-young, Song Yun-ah, South Koreans, stabbed to death, state of shock, supernatural killings, surreal, Tartan Extreme films, Thai film, thriller, underrated film, Vengeance Trilogy, vengeful ghost, well done, worthwhile movie, young woman | posted in Movies
Every time I watch this movie, I’m surprised at how simplistic it is. It follows a very simple storyline between four characters and never veers from that path. Focusing on human emotions and the tribulations we all face (although the cases may be extreme in this case) it’s a movie where the acting and humanistic side aren’t far off. Add elements that make it a worthwhile plot, and you have the makings of a film debut by Jieho Lee in his first film.
The entire film is based on an ancient Chinese proverb. Life itself is made up of four emotions. Happiness (Forest Whitaker), Pleasure (Brendan Frasier), Sorrow (Sarah
A well known cast with a bit of heart.
Michelle Gellar), and Love (Kevin Bacon). Each of these characters are represented on a hand, all connected by fingers (Andy Garcia). Through four separate “mini-stories” played out in an intertwining fashion, we gain insight into what the Chinese proverb means.
Hey may look friendly here, but he seems always frightening in his films.
Here’s something I don’t get though. Most critics gave this a bad review. They said that the all-star cast didn’t give enough of a boost to the film. I don’t think the cast or any of that hullabaloo had anything to do with this movie and how it did. This movie focuses on the plot. Seeing as its a character driven plot, the characters fuel and progress the story by their emotions and actions (finally discovering the emotion they represent by their part’s end). People say Brendan Frasier is a terrible actor (excluding The Mummy Series, of course. If you think those are bad, you have no idea what a good action movie is.) but I think this movie proves that theory wrong. Brendan Frasier plays an atypical character to what he normally plays. He’s not a muscled buffoon or frozen caveman come to life. He plays a thug, sure. But he plays an introspective thug who thinks before he acts. He has emotions and feelings you don’t normally see in a Brendan Frasier vehicle,
Give her the nod for this one.
something I’m proud to say he did very well.
There are other reasons this movie is good. Andy Garcia, how can you ever go wrong with that? He’s a frightening mobster man in whatever he does, and I’d personally never want to cross him. Forest Whitaker plays outside of what I think his normal roles are with his timid and almost asthmatic accountant position. Sarah Michelle Gellar was at least applauded for this movie, which I think was justly deserved. Kevin Bacon, well, he’s just Kevin Bacon. Combine interesting roles with an uncanny cadre of actors and you have yourself an interrelated plot about the human extremes of emotion.
Kevin Bacon. He’s footloose in this one.
This movie isn’t flashy. It’s not presumptuous or too intellectual. It shows you that it is what it is and that’s it. An emotional rollercoaster with a happy ending. Not everything that leads up to the ending is happy, but we must all go through trials and tribulations before we see the silver lining (or get to reach it). I think this is an understated film. It’s one of those films you should own in your collection as a little bit of a “life check” for when things are bad, or even good. So I would recommend at least giving The Air I Breathe a try. It’s thought provoking. 8.2 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: accountant, all-star cast, Andy Garcia, badly review, Brendan Frasier, Chinese proverb, emotional roller coaster, extreme cases, film, Fingers, first directorial debut, focuses on plot, Forest Whitaker, four emotions, four main characters, frightening mob boss, hand, Happiness, happy ending, human emotions, humanistic, insightful, interrelated, intertwining characters, introspective thug, it is what it is, Jieho Lee, justly deserved acting, Kevin Bacon, life check, love, mini stories, Pleasure, Sarah Michelle Gellar, silver lining, simplistic storyline, Sorrow, The Air I Breathe, The Mummy series, thought provoking, timid character, tribulations, understated film, worthwhile movie | posted in Movies