(director/writer: Jong-hyuk Lee; screenwriter: Oh Seung-Wook; cinematographer: Peter Gray; editor: Ham Seong-weon; music: Choi Yong-rak/Jeong Se-rin; cast: Jung-ah Yum (Detective Kim Mi Yun), Jin-hee Ji (Detective Kang Tae Hyun), Ji-ru Sung (Detective Park), Seung-woo Cho (Shin Hyun), Woong-ki Min (Choi Young Jin), Yong Soo Park (Chief Jang), Sun-kyung Kim (Dr. Chu Kyung-sook), In-kwon Kim (Huh Young-Taek); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jin-ok Ryu; Tartan Video; 2002-S.Korea-in Korean with English subtitles)
“Suffers from cheesy production values, the clumsy manner of the storytelling, ill-conceived characters and crude acting.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A slick but brainless grisly serial killer B-film modeled after “The Silence of the lambs” and “Seven,” and similar to the 1999 Korean thriller “Tell Me Something.” First-time Korean director Lee Jong-hyuk’s disturbing police procedural thriller follows the manhunt for an elusive serial killer who preys on pregnant women. The investigating detective team discover in February the deaths of a baby and the teen mother at the site of a landfill. The investigating detectives Kim, Kang and Park (Yum Jung-ah, Ji Jin-hee and Sung Ji-ru) note that the killings follow the MO of those committed by a brutal killer of six women named Shin Hyun (Cho Seung-woo), who surrendered less than a year ago and is currently on death row. When questioned by the surly and highly emotional Kang, newly appointed to the team, the creepy serial killer provokes the questioner telling him to listen to voices from the beyond and taunts him to look inside his abyss. Another pregnant woman is discovered brutally slain on a public bus and the police are puzzled that the crimes are so similar that they believe there’s a copycat killer at work. The unemotional lead investigator Kim and the excitable Kang seek the help of smug psychiatrist Chu Gyeong-suk (Kim Seon-gyeong), who treated Shin Hyun as a patient. She seems more sympathetic towards the serial killer than his six victims and resists helping.
Over the next several months there are more gruesome murders. A killer named Huh is taken into custody by Kang at a dance club just as he slays his woman vic, Dr. Chu is found slain and her fanatical boyfriend Choi becomes the suspect, and an outrageous idea is planted by Kim for the timing of the killings–believing that the killings are planned to coincide to a woman’s 28-day menstrual cycle. The cerebral Kim is emotionally involved in this case because her boyfriend detective Han was driven to suicide after he arrested Shin.
Warning: spoiler to follow.
It leads to a twisty ending as Choi takes his own life and the killings still continue, meaning there must be someone else and a question lingers if Shin can possibly get into the heads of similar mental cases and get them to do the same crimes (well, if you know that the title letter stands for hypnoses, you got the film’s gimmick). Nevertheless, even though it borrows its premise from several other horror flicks, a good case of suspension of belief is required to stay with this illogical messy blood-splatter horror tale. It also suffers from cheesy production values, the clumsy manner of the storytelling, ill-conceived characters and crude acting.
REVIEWED ON 4/22/2006 GRADE: C-