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Black House

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Posted 7th July 2009 at 07:45 AM by Philleh

Based on the Japanese novel by Yûsuke Kishi, the film stars Hwang Jeong-min (A Bittersweet Life) as Jeon Jun-oh; a former banker who has just started work as an insurance investigator. He receives a call, on his first day, from a woman asking if it’s possible to claim on her life insurance policy if suicide is the cause of death. He breaks the company’s golden rule of exposing personal details to a client and informs her of a tragic moment from his past that involved suicide; she thanks him and he continues on with his day thinking he saved someone’s life.

The next day he receives a request from a policy holder, unknown to him, to come to their house and discuss their policy. Upon arrival he’s met by the owner, Park Chung-bae (Kang Shin-il - Silmido), once inside he asks Jeon if he will go and check on his son, when opening the boy’s bedroom door he discovers him hanged – an apparent suicide. The family are quick to cash-in on their life insurance on the seven year-old. Jeon, disturbed by all of this, sets out to prove that this was no suicide.

Events soon spiral out of control and he finds himself and his wife, Mina (Kim Seo-hyeong) in danger from Park; but Jeon is determined to get to the truth and save Park’s suffering wife Shin (Yoo Seon – The Wig) from this psycho. But the truth is far more shocking than first thought…

Korean horror is a turbulent genre. It features great titles like A Tale of Two Sisters and Whispering Corridors, but it also homes such titles as The Record and Black Honeymoon; yes siree, you never know what ya’ gonna get from a Korean frightener. Too bad then, that they seem to pump out so much junk with the talent the industry has; but it does make finding a film like Black House all the more special, and rewarding.

The pacing is slow out the gates, but it works well with the feel of the movie; slowly building up the tension as events unfold and plot twist ensue. Then around the seventy minute mark –BLAM! The movie kicks into overdrive and you are on the edge of your seat for the rest of the duration. The acting is top of the range: what else would you expect with a cast this good? During the slower moment you’re always glued to the performers; Hwang Jeong-min proves once again why he’s one of Korea’s best – he will have your watching his every action. Props to Kang Shin-il and Yoo Sun also, they make a creepy duo that will have you freaking out when they appear on-screen.

Black House is a refreshing movie for the Korean horror scene; mostly because it’s real ****ing good! The visuals, the score (which pays homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho), the acting and the scares are all top-draw stuff. Here’s hoping that this film gets picked up sometime soon for a wider release: Lord knows this deserves it!
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