Time for another review, and this time we’re off to Korea for a look at “Deserted House”, the latest Korean horror story to make it to DVD and then safely across the sea to your Favorite Catgirl’s mailbox this brand spankin’ New Year. Been some time since I watched a Korean film, especially given the price rise I’ve noticed in their DVD’s of late… nearly rivaling that of the Japanese imports I rarely indulge in. But then… Neko loves her ghost stories (lots more than most sane girls probably should….) , so could I pass up another Korean haunted house story for movie nite? Nawwwww…..
The synopsis goes along these lines: “In 42 years, 6 people have disappeared! 8 people have died! There have been 11 murders! Everyone is afraid of the deserted house with the ghosts. It is prohibited to enter if you are alive. But three deserted home society members and three filming team members enter the deserted house. They break the taboo of deserted homes and enter the world of spirits. But they disappear one day… And there is only a video they left behind…”
Seems like somebody in Korea has noticed the trend towards the “imitation” documentary style horror films being made lately, along the lines of “Paranormal Activity”, “Cloverfield”, “Noroi”, “Keramat”, and of course, [REC]…. so naturally somebody figured the Koreans had to have a homegrown version to call their own. They’ve been successful for the most part, made money, so I guess it was inevitable that there would be more. Good thing? Bad thing? That remains to be seen.
Only one way to know and that’s to take a look…. so curl up, sit a spell and let Neko-chan tell you all about it.
Like all the other films of this type to come before it, “Deserted House” is put together as one of those “Everybody died but we recovered their camera” kind of stories. So much for hoping any of the characters you might come to like will make it….. Goodness, how I really hate that. Completely ruins the chance I’ll become invested in the fate of the people in the story and makes it into a simple exercise in waiting to see how they all meet their grisly deaths. It would have been better, I feel, to have left the fate of our little group a bit more vague rather than spilling the beans on it as practically the first narrated line in the film. Oh well….. can’t expect too many tricks out of an “old dog”, like this story idea.
So who the heck are our victims, anyway? Well there are the three documentary film crew, including a camera guy, a production assistant and a combo sound tech/ script girl…. not the most original characters to ever inhabit a film like this and…. for the most part, a pretty forgettable bunch in and as much as they have very little screen time at all, spending most of the time being just out of frame as disembodied voices. Then there are the intrepid amateur “ghost hunters”, two geeky college guys and a naive girl newbie that are on hand as the main focus of the film documentary. Watched a lot of American reality TV? Yep… you’ve got pretty much the notion of what’s on hand then.
Now… this sort of story can actually work…. “The Blair Witch Project” certainly showed us that. Problem is, to make it work, you actually have to start ladling on the disturbing weirdness pretty quickly, otherwise what you get is a boring snooze fest of a film that looks like somebody’s bad home movie outtakes. Unfortunately… that’s what happens here. A shame really… cause the deserted factory and house are actually a great location…. it’s just that we spend far too much of this film’s running time poking around the ruined buildings and far too little seeing anything really scary. Oh…. and the camerawork… While probably very realistic, the “shaky cam” is downright annoyingly used far too often and gave me one heck of a headache trying to watch it and figure out what was happening. Note to future filmmakers… a little of this goes a loooong way.
Basically, we don’t even really get any real serious attempt at scares until after about an hour of this one has already unwound. Then, rather than give any suspense, the story just goes into overdrive, killing all the characters one after another in about the last 15 minutes or so. Yep. I’m not kidding…. How do they die? Well… let’s just say we don’t get any “long haired ghosts” here… instead we get the ol’ “possessed by evil” plot with the characters all being killed by each other as the ghost… never once seen… takes them over one by one to kill each of the others. Sigh….. Such a waste….
Nope…. Neko can’t really say she liked this one. Not at all. I give it only a paltry 2 “Meows” out of 5 for basically being about the lamest ghost story I’ve ever seen come out of Korea. Heck… it only gets that good a score because of the really good Region 3 NTSC DVD presentation with the usual tip-top production value and excellent English Subtitle one expects from a Korean DVD. Oh well… I’m certain my next film will be better. (Gosh, how I hope it will be….. Hehehehe!)
Of course I’ve got a Trailer for you, in all it’s docu-dramatic shaky cam glory!! Enjoy!