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Friday, June 28, 2013

New Korean Films: Horror Movie? Again? (2013 Week 26)

Cheer Up Mr. Lee
(힘내세요, 병헌씨)


A producer proposes to her TV station the idea of a documentary that follows the trials and tribulations of young apprentices filmmakers in their creative process. She and her team then begin to shoot all the doings of Byeong-heon. But she soon realizes the difficulty of this task. Byeong-heon drinks constantly, takes more than eight hours before starting to write the script and spends more than an hour trying different fonts for the title of the script. Moreover, he then goes out to meet his friends, a producer, cameraman and actor, all beginners, to get further drunk.

It has been a long time since I have written about an interesting concept for a movie. Director Lee Byeong-heon, who had participated in the script of Scandal Makers (2008) and Sunny (2011) writes a self-referential scenario in the format of a mockumentary, a genre that I have seen only rarely as short-movies in Korean cinema. This film should appeal to all moviegoers curious of the actual situation of the cinema besides CJ, Lotte and company. The idea seems to have so far seduced Korean critics, and also performed well in winning the audience award later at Seoul Independent Film Festival. But it has already been reviewed by MKC after its screening in Jeonju and the result doesn't seem so brilliant. The film will be available on a dozen screens, mostly independent theaters in Seoul and Busan, including the famous Indiespace which happens to also be the distributor.

Watch the Korean trailer here or read MKC's review here.


Killer Toon
(더 웹툰: 예고살인)


An editor of a webcomics site is found dead. Inspector Gi-cheol notes that the scene is similar to that previously seen in a webcomic he reads, and decides to query the author, Ji-yun, who denies any involvement. When a second murder occurs again with a modus operandi similar to that webcomic, she is arrested and finally reveals the secret lying behind her scenarios.

With already three Korean horror movies currently in theaters, one might think that it is enough to keep addicts of the chills content, but it has only just begun. Summer in Korea is considered as the ideal season for horror stories, and though there were until now only independent productions, CJ too is determined to achieve lucrative success in this genre. Kim Yong-gun had already made a horror film in 2005: Red Shoes, which I do not have fond memories of. This one has a recipe that seems to work anyway as the film is already up at the top of the box office based on ticket reservations, and has gathered much interest from netizens on Daum and Naver. The famous Lee Si-young (drama actress and singer) is certainly no stranger to it, having already participated in the success of Meet the In-Laws (2011) and How To Use Guys With Secret Tips (2012) . I hope at least that this role will allow her to prove to us that she can be less extreme in her acting. In the role of the detective, Uhm Ki-joon is another great star in the dramas’ universe, reinforcing a cast particularly interesting for a young female audience. As you might expect, this film should occupy almost all the theaters this week, and critics are not really convinced by this umpteenth horror-flick.

Watch the Korean trailer here.



New Korean Films is a weekly feature which provide an in-depth look at new local releases in Korea. For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Korean Reviews, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (Korean Standard Time). Reviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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