The Red Shoes

Starring: Hye-su Kim, Seong-su Kim, Yeon-ah Park, and Su-hee Go
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 25 June 2007

A young woman finds a pair of red shoes on an otherwise deserted underground station platform, and can't resist taking them home. When she discovers her husband is having an affair, she and her young daughter move into an apartment which is being designed by a mysterious stranger. Immediately, the shoes begin to take control of her life. She constantly fights with her ballet-loving daughter for possession of them, her mother practically steals them and is killed in a seeming accident, and she herself is plagued by visions of something not quite seen. It seems the shoes are cursed, but they are not the only ones with a back-story; the young woman harbours her own dark secret...

I purposefully chose this film from my latest batch of review discs to watch first. It feels like a while since the last East Asian horror film I saw, and remembering the more than decent track record of classy supernatural horror films to have emerged from the thoroughbred stable of Tartan Asia Extreme, I was looking forward to Red Shoes. It won't surprise you then, from this lead-up, that this example falls far short of most previous releases - being mediocre at best.

Aside from the opening sequence, nothing of significance happens for the first thirty minutes of this film - which is loosely based on the Hans Christian Anderson tale - and thereafter the lead character wanders around wide-eyed as if that is enough to frighten the viewing public. There are endless scenes of her calling for her daughter, until you're more than tired of hearing it. Another problem is that Korean director Yong-Gyun Kim has attempted to create poetic imagery which just doesn't work, only succeeding in slowing the scenes down even more.

The sign of an interesting or captivating DVD film is one you can manage in a single sitting. It took me four attempts to get through Red Shoes.

Ty Power

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