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A Fairytale Nightmare
Hansel And Gretel (DVD)
Member Name: thedevilinme
Hansel And Gretel (DVD)
Date: 02/09/12, updated on 02/09/12 (78 review reads)
Advantages: Interesting enough
Country - Korean (subtitles)
Run Time - 117 minutes
Certificate - 15
Japan was top dog for horror movies a while back but there is no doubt Korea are coming into the picture with their own take on the Asian Extreme genre, Hollywood increasingly put to shame in the genre by the Far East. They have a unique way of making movies in all the various genres and their horror films particularly atmospheric, this one no different.
Jeong-myeong Cheon ... EunSu
Young-nam Jang ... Soojeong
Sun-Kim Tong - Kim Jeongsun:
Ji-hee Jin ... Jung Soon
Kyeong-ik Kim ... Youngsik - byun
Hee-soon Park ... Deacon - byun
Eun-kyung Shim ... Young Hee
Eun Won-jae ... Manbok
Haeyoung: Eunsu's girlfriend.
Young salesman EunSu (Jeong-myeong Cheon) is distracted at the wheel whilst talking to his wife on the phone and crashes off the road and into a wooded revine as night is setting in. He awakens in a dazed heap to be rescued by a mysterious young girl wrapped in a red cloak, Soojeound (Young-nam Jang), who leads him to her parents cottage deep in the woods so safety. The house looks like its straight from those classic fairytales, a roaring log fire, fairy cakes on the table and candy canes on the mantelpiece.
Soojeound lives with her 13-year-old brother Manbook (Eun Won-jae) and little sister Kim Jeongsun (Sun-Kim Tong) and what appears to be their parents, Young Hee (Eun-kyung Shim) and a homely and pretty woman called Jung Soon (Ji-hee Jin). They are extremely welcoming and very pleased to meet him.
EunSu agrees to sleep the night and so he can set out in the morning fully refreshed to find the road after recovering from his crash. But when he tries to leave, he gets lost in the mysterious wood and returns to the cottage after going around in circles. After another night in the cottage it's the same thing the next day, all rather odd and a real head scratcher. Although the kids are cute they are a little too creepy for comfort and he knows deep down something very odd is going on and he needs to solve the mystery to escape the woods.
The next day a young couple arrive at the cottage, also lost in the woods after straying from the highway, a man called Deacon- Byun (Hee-soon Park) a preacher of sorts and his girlfriend Youngsik - byun (Kyeong-ik Kim) both enticed to the cottage by young Manbok. Youngsik has her eyes on the many valuables in the cottage whilst the seedy and greasy Deacon-Byun is drawn to the kids. At this point its clear there is a supernatural air to the house and kids but they are also tormented and so should Eun- Soo stay around to keep the kids safe from the new arrivals and break the curse or keep trying to flee the woods before its too late for them all.
Well it's not bad as far as the story goes although it does go on a bit around the films simple premise that isn't really expanded on when it needs to be. The main protagonists being trapped in the fairytale that's really the kids nightmare is all very fine but that point is hammered into us too much until the films convoluted ending, the way Dr Who does.
Visually it's a treat and every scene immaculate and suitably spooky when needed too slowly unravel the mystery, as sedate as that pace is, feeling like the director is actually painting the Brothers Grimm portrait (with rest breaks) as you watch it. As far as the horror goes its not that scary and certainly not gory, very much in a traditional style. It's more about the mystery than the body count. The director pushes the point that kids often behave like adults and vice versa in broken families and the specter of pedophilia also lingers like a band smell here, the horror of kids going feral when the parents aren't around, or strong enough, a common theme to horror films, as is the always subtle suggestion of pedophilia that you seem to get in most horror films that have kids in. Saying that it's interesting and enigmatic enough as you unpick the mystery and looks great so worth a rent or record, a fine example of one of those interesting Korean moviemakers out there.
Imdb.com - 6.9/10 (1,799 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - 73% critic's approval rating
Metacritc.com - 82% critic's approval rating
Time Out - 'It's inconsistent: too predictable and simplistic for adults, too disturbing and bloody for their offspring. It's hard to know who it's for'.
The Guardian -'Making up for a selection of recent Asian Horror disappointments, this lush, surreal and brilliantly dark fairy tale is an entertaining and deliciously unsettling experience'.
The Times - 'The production design is terrific - the color palette is as lurid as a plate of cupcakes. But the film loses its tension in a baggy final act that over explains the secret of the house'.
The Guardian -'Revenge by abandoned children on the treachery of grown-ups ought to be unsetting at the very least, if not spine-tingingly terrifying. But it's done so clumsily that nothing remotely spooky emerges'.
NY Post - 'This is consummate filmmaking, where every frame beguiles and unnerves in equal measure'.
Summary: Korean horro