Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quickie Film Reviews: R-Point

Film Four showed Korean spookfest R-Point last night (or early this morning). It's quite clearly a post-Ringu film in terms of style, right down to a Sadako clone wandering about, although the narrative, with talk of old burial grounds and curses, is a bit more traditional than the post-Hiroshima psychic teenager shenanigans of the Japanese film.

It's also something of a disappointment, but on the plus side, it's only such a let down because the opening two-thirds of the film are exceptionally well done, with a couple of nicely-paced shocks and some clever and quite subtle moments (well, I saw them as subtle, but I suppose they might seem obvious if one were to take certain portions of the script literally). Sadly, the creators seem to have run out of ideas by the end of the film (aside from one bit dealing with the fate of the lead character, which again seemed subtle and somewhat heartbreaking to me, but might in fact have been patently obvious), resorting instead to erratic storytelling and bursts of random violence. The "rules" of the curse are also somewhat inconsistent, particularly in comparison to the stark simplicity of something like the aforementioned Ringu; I'm still not sure why certain stuff does and doesn't happen to certain characters. Similarly, fairly important chunks of the script seem to be missing, like what exactly Sergeant Jing is up to; I get the feeling that either the original script was a bit shaky, or more likely the English translation is somewhat haphazard.

Still, the first hour or so made the film highly entertaining, even if the climax wasn't up to the same standard. R-Point isn't as good an entry in the "squaddies against the paranormal" genre as either Predator or Dog Soldiers (where's that sequel, Pertwee?), but it's definitely worth a look, and it's better than The Keep, or that one with the haunted submarine that no one watched.

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