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DVD Review

DVD cover



Starring: Moon Sung-Ken, Choo Ja-Hyun, Jeon Se-Hong
Cine Asia
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 31 January 2011

A film director takes a young prospective actress, Hyun-ah, out into the countryside to discuss a role (hmm...). The moment they arrive at their destination, the director is attacked and killed by a local poultry farmer, Pan-gon. The young woman is caged and systematically physically and mentally abused over several days. Her sister, concerned by her disappearance, goes to the police. However, the real evidence comes from a woman on a moped who has seen Hyun-ah. A search of the Pan-gon farm reveals no revelations. As far as the police are concerned the quiet farmer is a harmless simpleton who looks after his elderly and sick mother. But now the sister has put herself in danger...

Ever since the first emergence of Saw and Hostel, which created a sub-genre within horror, there has been an increasing number of films which follow similar lines. Missing, I would say, is probably closer in format to The Last House on the Left, Funny Games, or Mum & Dad - even Hush, although the latter is undoubtedly in a class of its own. This Korean film is said to be based on true events. I have to say that most of the violence is implied, as opposed to graphic visuals, which many film makers resort to in order to make an impact. The restraint shown here gives more style and credence to the overall project. So, although the subject matter remains unsavoury, to say the least, we’re actually seeing and hearing the story rather than experiencing the masochistic details.

Moon Sung-keun’s portrayal of Pan-gon at first seems somewhat subdued, but in retrospect is almost certainly a more realistic reaction for a torturer and killer. They seldom materialise as Hannibal Lecter or Freddy Krueger; but more often as the quiet man (or woman) next door. The story is well-told and seems more realistic when it’s implied that Pan-gon has lived under an overbearing mother for many years, and sees her sickness as an opportunity to exert his own personality. Not that this is a sufficient motive for his actions. It’s a watchable film, without being that enjoyable.


Ty Power

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