Saturday, March 01, 2014

Hide and Seek (숨바꼭질) Review

After dinner, Leon and I wanted to watch a movie. She suggested 감기 (Flu), which we had wanted to watch for a while (because it was filmed in Bundang, and because it features Soo Ae, toward whom I have a strange attraction), but it was never available at the rental place downstairs. Apparently they didn't stock it because it's not very good, and I have to cry bullshit there. Because it surely can't be as bad as Hide and Seek.

The film starts out promising, though predictable. A single woman living in a rundown area of Incheon is stalked and murdered by a figure in black: black jumpsuit and motorcycle helmet. After the title reveal, we're introduced to our protagonist, who for some reason is never given a name. He's rich, he owns a cafe, has a wife and two kids, and crippling OCD, which, as you might expect, is movie OCD and not real OCD, in that his disorder comes and goes based on the needs of the plot.

It turns out our protagonist (whom I'll just call Guy from now on for brevity's sake) was adopted, and his older brother was accused of molesting a girl when he was a teenager. The older brother was probably innocent, but, because he has scabs all over his body, Guy, who hates his scabs (because OCD), lies and said he molested the girl. This led to Guy's brother becoming a social outcast who did some prison bids and was shunned by the family and denied an inheritance when their parents passed. 

Years later, Guy gets a call from someone asking about his brother. He's been missing from his apartment, but it's not really a big deal (so why the phone call?). The neighborhood is shady, one petitioned for demolition, and people around there go missing all the time. 

Guy goes to investigate the neighborhood, telling his wife and children to stay in the car*. While he's there, his kids are kidnapped inside the car by a crazy dude and saved by a woman with a taser. Taser Lady insists that they come in for a cuppa, and explains that she and her daughter hate the neighborhood and are moving soon. Her husband is in Australia.

Then Guy mentions that his missing brother lived in #317, and everything goes to shit: Taser Lady kicks them out of her apartment, yelling at Guy to make his brother stop peeping at her daughter.

And here is where I have to take my leave, at least as far as a proper review or synopsis goes. A movie this bad doesn't deserve spoiler warnings, but I'm a man of principle. Needless to say, things get pretty ridiculous. 

Some points:

- It's shot really well.

- Every Korean movie I've watched with a status war theme is always terribly written ("Mom, I want pizza! Pizza!" "My friend at school has a 3DS, so buy me a 3DS!"). And like 하녀 (The Housemaid), they both end in a conflagration, this one weirdly localized as Guy and his kids stare dumbfounded.

- I kind of want to rewatch the movie to take inventory of just how many times people are hit in the head by objects (flower pots, concrete bricks, lead pipes, fists, umbrellas**).

- Best line of the movie: "It's not the yogurt lady! Don't open the door!"

- I'm no film cricket, but opening a movie titled Hide and Seek with a family literally playing hide-and-seek is a bit much, no?

- That is the worst ending to any movie I've ever seen. That kid has to eat or go to the bathroom. 


*  Like that ever works. And it happens twice in this movie!

** been there

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