Monday, November 19, 2012

Asian Horror: The Uninvited/Coming Soon/Into the Mirror

There are a bunch of Asian horror films about ghosts that are sometimes on the lengthy side, don’t always make that much sense, and in some cases have something or other to do with mental illness.  As that with this blog I have gone more and more with horror film reviews being is that that’s all people read on here for the most part, I feel it is worth discussing these films a little bit.  However, it may be the case that reviews of these kinds of films will not get hits.  Even though these films are extremely violent and grim, they do not involve snuff films (Snuff, A Serbian Film, etc.), or feature women being raped and impregnated by a monster of some kind (Inseminoid, Humanoids from the Deep, Xtro, The Beast Within, etc.), or were banned in any country (Human Centipede 2, The Bunny Game, or A Serbian Film, etc.) which means this review is likely to yield a smaller on-line audience.  The Korean film The Uninvited is in the Asian Ghost film genre.  I asked the other people watching the film if it made any sense after the credits, and they agreed that it did not.  After I watched it I went back to a plot synopsis to see if I could make sense of the film of if I had seriously missed something.  The film still doesn’t really make much sense.   The Uninvited is that one with the guy who is about to get married seeing the two little girls in the subway and it turns out that the girls were poisoned by their mother.  Protestantism took off in a big way in South Korea which plays into the film-the main character’s dad is a pastor at a Protestant church.  There’s a whole thing about a woman with narcolepsy who can see the ghosts of the little girls that haunt the main character, and this whole bit about her best friend throwing her baby out the window.   In describing this film I’m making it sound as though this film makes a lot more sense than it in fact does.   It’s very convoluted.  There’s some weird fixation with infanticide and people jumping out windows that carries through the film.  It’s relatively non-linear, if you’re looking for a real concrete a-then-b-then-c sort of structure it doesn’t have one, or at least it doesn’t have one that works.   If you’re a film student or something and you want to psychoanalyze a bunch of weirdness about Korean women killing their children, then this is the film for you. Coming Soon is a Thai film. Spoiler Alert!  It plays with the notion somewhat related to the idea of a snuff film of a real death being caught on camera and used in a film.  The film starts with actually a fairly extreme sequence about a woman who removes the eyes of children she kidnaps.  Local villagers find her and hang her.  The story line revolves around the people working at the movie theater. The old woman in the movie comes out of the movie to kill people.   There’s an interesting little plot twist about the movie within a movie being based on a true story- but the ghost turn out not to be the real woman the film within a film is based on, but rather a woman killed during the filming of the hanging scene in the movie-within-a-movie.  Unfortunately, the death caught on camera used in Coming Soon is an accidental death that is kept in the film and not a deliberate murder on camera.  The definition of a snuff flick is a film made of a murder for purposes of commercial distribution of some kind.  It is unfortunate that the death on camera that appears in Coming Soon because then the film would be a film about snuff flicks, and reviews about films involving snuff flicks in the plotline are a large source of hits, largely from people looking for real snuff footage.  That being said, Coming Soon is a pretty decent film.  Here’s a tangential bit: when I was watching the films Coming Soon at the Sci-Fi center here in Vegas, a guy showed up with a t-shirt for the Norwegian black metal band Dark Throne.  It’s funny, if there is one thing I regret doing blogging it’s doing a bunch of reviews of obscure black metal bands no one really cares about.  Part of the reason for that is that in recent years there’s been that dumb little trend of art world and academic types becoming obsessed with black metal.  I think if you try to analyze and interpret black metal in an academic or a high brow art type of context you don’t really understand it.  There’s no reason to anyway.  Even if many of those Norwegian black metal bands were more or less certifiable, if you read interviews with them, their intentions have always been more or less clear.  The whole black metal thing is what it is.  Those black metal bands were all trying to sound like Venom sort of.  Venom is pretty good.  Into the Mirror is another weird little Asian ghost movie, this time once again from South Korea.  Speaking of academics, the Lacan people would love Into the Mirror because they have their big fixation with cinema and mirrors.  There’s a bit about a mental patient in Into the Mirror as well.  Into the Mirror is about a mall security guard conducting investigation into a series of murders that are actually carried out by a ghost that lives behind mirrors.   Into the Mirror is alright. 

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