A grisly yet derivative horror flick set on a border post between North and South Korea. The Guard Post turns out to be a very familiar journey in its depictions of the terrors, both real and imagined, that befall a group of soldiers living in an ultra-remote and dangerous locale. The film it most resembles is R-POINT, another Korean movie with a very similar background, and if it isn’t quite as good as that film then at least it makes the effort.
The Guard Post offers a neat blend of psychological fear and in-your-face graphic horror. It opens with a massacre (wisely kept off-screen) and we subsequently follow the fortunes of a group of soldiers sent to investigate what happened. What exactly did happen won’t really surprise anyone – the theme is extremely familiar these days in plenty of horror films – but it’s handled in an efficient way that maximises the various scare scenes to strong effect. There’s physical horror present in the film too, but rather than dwelling on it, it’s presented in brief, jarring visions which add to the viewer’s disorientation.
One flaw prevents The Guard Post from being a great film: the disjointed editing. The decision was made to tell both the back-story leading up to the massacre and the present, investigative story at the same time, with rapid-fire editing between the two time frames. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for the viewer to tell whether what’s going on is happening at present, or in the past. It doesn’t help that only a few of the main characters are given any kind of depth, and trying to distinguish one huddle of soldiers from the next is a difficult process. If it wasn’t for this, then The Guard Post could have been a truly great viewing experience; as it stands, it’s something I enjoyed but wouldn’t bother with a second time.
It’s an unusual, but immensely unpredictable military horror/mystery story covering its bases in an interestingly progressive non-linear narrative that constantly moves between present time and flashbacks in a very muddled fashion. At times it was confusing adjusting to which period was which, as they replay scenes over and over again of the lead up to eventful bloody massacre of the original team of G.P. 506 where they would try to reach the correct conclusion. A sense of deja vu really seems to creep in with the actions of the newly appointed team with there investigation. Even then the jadedly slow-grinding and over-long plot leaves you questioning some story devices and knotty developments, but this extremely cold and dread-fill atmospheric tale manages to pull you in as it constructs a threatening environment from its dourly tight bunker quarters, confronting paranoid friction and grippingly suspenseful exchanges that mostly ignited in graphic slabs of twisted violence. There’s authentically poignant make-up FX brought across. Su-chang Kong’s sleek direction is visually crisp, while maintaining a stark punch and the camera-work fluidly covers many angles. The music is emotionally stirring in its arrangement by adding to the creepy air and the sound effects have that chilling imprint. The starch performances by all are reliably solid and convincing.
If you’re a fan, or a constant observer of Ju-on franchise, it’s likely that every scene in this film, you’ll realize this is the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th time you’ve seen it. When they say they’re going back to the roots and basics with this series, they mean it literally. The crawling Kayaka in the wardrobe, the jawless girl, the stupid schoolgirls who go to the Saeko house for adventure and the thing that’s under your quilt. Everything has been done since the initial TV version, then on the subsequent theatrical version, and then again in the Hollywood remake, and this! Seriously, get creative, you creative teams!
Despite that frustration, the movie manages to offer quite a handful of surprises. In fact, the only part where it even tries to be innovative is the origin of the curse. In this version, Toshio was the original curse, or grudge, whatever…he died in the house, and haunted the subsequent barren Saeko family, which ultimately led to the massacre, shown in a completely different way. So in a way Kayako is another victim to the Toshio curse. Does that matter? Not really I suppose, as long as the team still consists of a long-hair Japanese woman, a pale white half-naked boy and a cute black cat, who cares which one died first. But it does affect the movie so that Toshio has taken the place of Kayako as the main antagonist. And most of the times, he’s not as scary as Kayako used to be. Yeah, he appears out of nowhere, at one time from the god-damn fridge, just thinking about it makes me laugh. Doesn’t he realize he’s not wearing anything? Is he hiding from a nuclear holocaust?
The scares are good, both in cinematography and sound, always top notch in this series. Kayako really is getting old, which is sad but true, and a little distracting. There’s one scene I particularly enjoyed. Close to the end where the heroin escapes downstairs and meets Toshio, she stares at the stairs, frightentedly waiting for Kayako to crawl down the steps, and so are we. Due to the repetitive nature of this series, we can be sure that this is reincarnation of the classic scene with a bloody Kayako on the spiraling staircase. And the camera was focusing on that all too familiar spot, waiting for her to appear. But suddenly, we see Kayako is hanging at the roof of the staircase, very unexpectedly! Now that’s clever.
Overall, it is the best Ju-on film in a long time. Despite the reputation, this series hasn’t been able to retain its original quality since the first one. It made quite a few attempts to deviate from the old formula, both in Japan and US, but none too successfully. It’s no wonder they chose to play it somewhat safe this time. If you’re a horror fan, or a fan of the series, this is worth your time. It’s not an instant classic, but still better than 70% of this genre out there.
Henge is a 2011 Japanese movie that’s a low budget flick to say the least…WOW!…I wasn’t expecting such a bare bones flick when I went into watching this thing, but it gets the job done well enough somehow (which is impressive when factoring in its cost). It’s basically part love story, part monster movie. For those of you who aren’t aware, this is film that involves a man who starts experiencing seizures and loss of memory every few days…then, his condition takes a turn for the worse. He soon starts morphing into some type of murderous creature that feeds on humans in order to survive.
The man’s wife initially tries to get him help, but it’s of no use. Fearful of what he’s becoming, she then attempts to hide from him, then kill him, but she can’t do it. Eventually, she just resigns herself to stand by him as a dutiful wife no matter what she must do; this entails seducing men to bring home so he can eat them, and taking him on the run when the cops come sniffing around with their toy cap guns. There’s some mumbo jumbo about him being some life force creature from the time when humans and animals were connected, then, a 1960’s Godzilla movie breaks out. This movie is pretty wacky and cheap and ridiculous. It’s not what I would call a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but it is somewhat endearing…and, it works. The wife’s efforts to help her husband along from point A to point B are interesting and kind of heartwarming in a way. It’s only about 50 minutes long unless there is some extended version I’m unaware of, so it goes about its business rather quickly until it arrives at its conclusion; a conclusion, I might add, that must be seen in order to be believed.
I think the pizza I ordered last night cost more than it took to make this movie. The “special effects” here are laughably cheap (from rubber suits, to body parts, to toy model sets)…strangely, this seems to add to the movie’s charm, not detract from it. The two leads did a respectable enough job of what was asked of them, and there’s an oddly effective balance between their personal interactions, and the monster side of the story throughout the film. All in all, it’s a neat little story that’s streamlined and to the point, and, I found it all rather likable for what it is…almost fun, in fact. It makes for a nice change of pace from the norm. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I’m actually going to slightly recommend this movie. Though, I can’t justify giving it any more than a C+.
Ming and his wife Jen lead quiet, ordinary lives with their 13-year-old daughter Lucy, while their 20 year-old son Sunny is at medical school overseas.Things seem perfect until Ming accidentally knocks Lucy down with his car on the cusp of her 14th birthday. From then onwards, Lucy’s behaviour turns bizarre. Sunny returns from school to find his father becoming more distant towards his sister. As Jen and Sunny struggle to decipher the cause of it all, Lucy’s increasingly disturbing behavior escalates into violence. When Lucy’s dog gets killed and Ming comes to harm, dark and hidden secrets are unveiled one by one and the family is forced to confront their past that deep down, they have never truly been able to forget or forgive themselves for. Truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction. No one in the family could have fathomed just how searing this confrontation will become as it culminates in twist after twist of shocking terror, unearthing a truth they could never have imagined.
This thriller supernatural has almost everything you would expect from a production of these features but has medium gas, as if it were the skeleton of something more powerful. The work between the debutante director Ng Tin Chi ─también guionista─ and veteranHerman Yau decompensates a set that starts brutally but then subsides in tone and readings; yes, the drama is easier to follow than in many other cases, without the bunching of characters, references, and other terrifying specters would hinder compromise in viewing.
n addition, the extraordinary structural and formal innocence of the film arouses sympathy from the mindless of their family approach, with a central core mega unstructured and a love between them that is almost more shows from the legitimate and sincere parental concern. Some of the smiles that starts “The second coming” born of his own shortcomings, just as some of the most terrifying passages are no less effective for its lack of originality.
In a beautiful and riveting opening sequence set in the midst of a Thai rain-forest we are thrust straight into the overall tone of the movie. The whole six minute scene is made in one take, where the camera is seemingly detached from the action and only stumbles upon it from time to time capturing a rape scene and several minutes later the perpetrators are lying dead in the water.
From this we are transported into the lives of a town-dwelling marriage of well-off professionals May and Nop. As in the opening sequence there lives are detached from each other only occasionally touching each other as if almost by chance. Nop is engulfed in his photography as a means to escape his failing marriage, whilst May finds solace in the arms of her coworker Korn. Without much enthusiasm May and Nop plan an escape into the wilderness and go camping in the forest. Even here in the midst of nature and cut off from other companionship they hardly intertwine and seem to exist separately. Until one night Nop wanders off in the forest only to disappear…
Extremely consistent in eeriness it captivates the senses. Much thanks to the camera-work, which is terrific and beautiful stuff, albeit most of it is made with a hand-held camera making it almost reminiscent of “Blair Witch Project” (albeit with way better results). Given that this movie almost watches like a horror film it must be noted, that it is much more than just a typical genre movie. It remains creepy throughout shying away however from actually being a shock thriller or Asian horror. The ending leaves much unexplained and it would probably help a lot to be better acquainted with local mythology. Without it you can assume various plot points, but are ultimately left with many questions unanswered that seem solely cultural. Additionally the version I saw seemed to be missing a significant portion of the last 30 or so minutes and various situations seemed to have not been filmed or cut out.
All in all I found movie captivating and inspiring, although somewhat slow and drags on unnecessarily at times. The ending is not entirely satisfactory and slightly bland, but I admittedly preferred that it left so much to self-interpretation. Made a significant enough impression on me to search out other Pen-Ek Ratanaruang movies and note him down as an auteur filmmaker.
A surprisingly interesting meditation on the nature of regret in terms of the way it relates to paranoia. There’s a lot going on in this for having a run time of only 74 minutes, but it works. The scares are very subtle, not the jump-cut scares that seem to populate most recent Asian horror films. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in this case. It means, in essence, that the filmmakers don’t punk out in the end the way they might’ve in, say, an American version of this story. THE BOOTH moves inexorably toward its (foregone) conclusion, but is so beautifully crafted on every level that one can enjoy the ride the way one might a familiar cruise along a well-travelled stretch of (very scenic) road. The claustrophobia is, at times, almost palpable. Worth a nice long look.
The Nippon Broadcasting Co.’s studio 6 sets the scene. A veteran late night talk show host receives a call from a woman suicide partner whom in thirty years has never grieved for. The phone and the lines start to sear with disruptions, he gets guilt/ghost stricken by her voice, feels trapped in his booth, and hangs himself. Many years later a popular radio host for Tokyo LoveLine is forced by circumstance to do his show from that same closed down studio. Shoto is all the rave with the late night lonelies, especially with the women listeners. He’s totally in control, holds his audience in his hands, and can effectively run the emotional gamut a show like this requires. He’s a potent mix of expressive personality, manipulativeness, insensitivity, gratuitous sympathy, and showmanship. Despite his womanizing (on the air, but mostly in flash backs) women adore and trust him. We are in Shoto’s shoes, as his image fills the screen for the duration. We ride his highs and squirm with his lows. But the highs are at best very intermittent because Shoto is suddenly faced with a similar predicament to his suicide predecessor in Studio 6. Except this is the extended circuit, the prime feature in full color.
The movie mostly took place in a small, out-dated radio station’s studio with a very bad history, where the main character was forced to broadcast his talk show due to the radio station was in the process of re-locating. It is from this confined space that this movie thrives and makes you feel very claustrophobic and very paranoid. At time our protagonist can not determined the strange happenings in the old studio were caused by ghost or some conspiracy by his co-workers or it was all in his mind. What I like about this film is that the film-makers makes you see through the eyes of the main character and makes you just as paranoid as protagonist did. The great communicator is caught naked–he cannot communicate and fakes his way through to music breaks. He grows more and more distraught as the booth seems to be conspiring against him, He feels more and more crampt, and desperate losing all scope, and all fellowship with his technical staff. Is he up against the ghost of a woman he has abused and perhaps left for dead, her actual self, an office staff conspiracy to bring him down, or plain guilt?
What we do know is that crimes against women possess these two love experts to the point that these harmed women inhabit them and demand their own justice. By what medium this is done is not important. What does matter is that these betrayers of women can no longer live with their hypocrisy, their crime, their guilt. And that their huge public gets the message. The key strength of “The Booth” is that in never abandons reality for fantasy. The dead indeed may have awakened, but in a way that no viewer can doubt. Thirty years of stoical waiting in a grave, or several hours afloat in the vast sea, that impact can arise out of nothingness is never in question. If the two women have been given the power of lovers, so can they possess the power of judge. The booth itself is proof of that.
While still nowhere close to the original “Ringu” trilogy, at least “Sadako 3D 2″ was a step up from its abysmal predecessor “Sadako 3D” – not much, but still noticeably improved. What made “Sadako 3D 2″ better than the previous was a more solid and thought through storyline as there was a red line throughout the movie, whereas the previous movie was messy, confusing and seemed mostly like random clips put together.
But still for a Japanese horror movie of this genre “Sadako 3D 2″ wasn’t particularly scary. Sure, there were some nice scenes here and there throughout the movie, but as a whole there just wasn’t enough scares in the movie to match other similar movies. One thing that impressed me was the acting performance put on by child actress Kokoro Hirasawa (playing Nagi). She, and she alone, was carrying this movie without a doubt, and she was genuinely capable of portraying some rather disturbing and spooky scenes with her body language and facial expression. Thumbs up for that! The effects in “Sadako 3D 2″ also had a very noticeable improvement from the previous movies and it was more of an enjoyable experience to sit through this movie than it was with part one.
Still, the plot had strayed quite far from the original trilogy. And whether or not you like that or not is, of course, a personal preference. Of course it is good with new ideas and new blood, but if why change something that isn’t broken? These two additions to the “Ringu” legacy seems to have set out to accomplish a little bit too much or going for a grander and more epic scale, but failed to fully grasp it and deliver where it would impress. It was a good thing that director Tsutomu Hanabusa didn’t include those laughable creatures that make their appearance in the first “Sadako 3D” movie. They were just ridiculous. While not fully there yet, “Sadako 3D 2″ is a mediocre addition to the “Ringu” legacy, and your overall experience would not be any less if you miss out on this movie (or the previous one).
Pintu Terlarang (aka the Forbidden Door) is a brilliant film, plain and simple. Joko Anwar, the director, did a fabulous job constructing the imagery of the psychological thriller with magnificent scoring, impressive casts and smart plot line. Though the film, itself came from the best-selling novel by Sekar Ayu, I found that it only took major plot from the novel. To be honest, I did not know about the ending until it was revealed. Quite a shock! Both Fachri Albar and Marsha Timothy gives one of the best performances of their career, the powerful performances with complex emotions. Some scene are quite disturbing but it helps the film to build intense in beautiful cinematography, the Joko Anwar’s style.
The multi-part climax and ending could be described predictable, surprising, (Yes, both of those) as truly epic, and cryptic. I think I’ve figured what it was supposed to mean, though even had you left the theatre merely confused, you’ll appreciate the craft and you will have been affected by the movie. The acting and direction is top notch, and I can attest that the movie was foreboding even when interrupted by technical difficulties and projector problems as my theatre endured when the movie was screened. I would love to see more work by these people.
Joko Anwar make this movie so heartbreaking which is making you keep staying in your chair. The point is, this movie will make you forget the world, and after saw this movie, I promise, that your brain will full with your own idea about the ending, because, baby, the ending is so cool. You can put some point of view about the ending. Fachri Albar give a bad-ass performance. He is really great. And, Marsha Timothy can act well too. She can act as a wife who is really mysterious with really great. The art direction is totally awesome. And the music score is really, really make you wanna jumped out from your chair. Just watch this movie, watch the Christmas dinner scene and you will forget anything! Trust me.
It is a bold, horrifying, intense and mean noir psychological horror. The horrid surreal atmosphere and chilling gore very much remind me of Lynch’s and Aronofsky’s style which is outstanding. Watching this movie really gives you a more complex horrid feeling than any kind of Indonesian horror with excessive portion of demon and ghost appearance more than you beg for of which you can’t help but to smirk. And fairly said, this movie has put back faith in me that indeed Indonesian filmmaker can so do much better than only of those sex exploit movies and series of ridicule horror. Finally said, this movie is very recommended as an introductory to a fine piece of Indonesian modern cinema. And despite the plot may not be very original at all and at some point the gory scene may need a little extra stomach to bear, but to skip this modern horror experience would be a sin to every horror/thriller movie lover.
I’m just as much a fan of gory, splatterhouse exploitation films as the next sicko, but when it comes to generating a chill down the spine, there is something to be said for being as terse as possible with onscreen imagery. For fans of subtle, atmospheric and extremely creepy movies, especially around this time of year, House in the Alley is a dead-on success. The brilliantly understated story moves swiftly, is told beautifully, and enough questions are left unanswered to maximize the mystery of it all, yet not so many that the plot is left full of holes. The music is sparse and atmospheric, and the images are beautifully shot and edited, with great use of filters and composites to give the appropriate washed out looks where necessary. The effects, used minimally, are flawless and very creepy without seeming garish or overbearing.
Until they lose their baby to a miscarriage, a young couple were happily settling into their new life in their spacious home. After the tragedy, Thao is inconsolable and won’t let her baby’s body leave the house. Normal life eludes her as terrifying visions undermine her sanity. Her husband, Thanh, experiences strange phenomena around their home and when his wife turns on him, he must race to uncover the secrets of the house in the alley before they lose their sanity and their lives.
Considering the obvious budgetary restrictions, the filmmakers could not afford to transform the house into a full-blown character, and the film is at its most effective when centering on the melodrama inherent in the psychological horror. The film is creepy enough without the addition of children of the damned tiptoeing across the roof or mysteriously appearing in mirrors. The few concessions that are made to modern horror films are as unwarranted as they are quaint. Though I do admit that a smile crossed my face when a primitive, stop-motion toddler briefly popped up from beneath the sheets.
As with classics like The Changeling and 1963’s The Haunting, House in the Alley is a perfect example of how you can still muster a scare from a jaded populace without resorting to cheap jolts and gore. More Blair Witch Project than Sleepaway Camp, and thus far more impressive than most recent attempts at terror. Now if I could just stop hiding from my television…