Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).
This piece comes courtesy of Natasha Harmer, a member of the brilliant Coventry University East Asian Film Society (CUEAFS).
Is a classroom accusation of soiled underpants really a good reason to exact brutal revenge on your classmates and teacher sixteen years later? Well according to Im Dae-woong’s directorial debut To Sir, with Love (aka Bloody Reunion), it is.
Retired teacher Mrs. Park gave birth to a deformed son, whom she kept in a basement with a bunny mask to cover his deformities. He was ridiculed and picked on by her students, so sixteen years later when a bunny-masked villain starts picking off the same students, Mrs. Park’s deformed son seems like a likely suspect (Leatherface anyone?). However, in an attempt to avoid a clichéd conclusion, it turns out that it isn't her deformed son after all.
While it is a satisfyingly gory, dark and twisted tale, it lacks a solid storyline and the reason behind its brutal revenge is hard to believe. If you can suspend your disbelief, it’s an enjoyable film, but if you’re already scratching your head at dirty underwear being the reason for mass murder then perhaps you should steer clear. Korean revenge cinema generally gives the protagonist a damn good reason for exacting revenge, like being kidnapped and locked in a cell for thirteen years, but rarely is their motive a bit of petty name calling. To Sir, with Love is an interesting mish-mash of horror sub-genres that deliberately avoids conforming to convention; it harks back to many classic horror films but sadly falls short of the mark and the revenge theme feels contrived and laughable.
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