Friday, April 26, 2013

Film Review: Spider Forest (2004)

Spider Forest (Review)
South Korea/2004
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Kang Min, a TV producer, mysteriously awakens in a forest. He wanders into a cabin where he finds a dead man who has been stabbed excessively. In a room nearby, Kang Min finds Su-Young, his girlfriend, also stabbed. Min sees the killer try to escape and pursues him until Min gets hit by a car. After brain surgery, Min awakens from a coma to find he is a suspect in the double homicide, and now, along with his police detective friend Choi, he must prove his innocence.

The story is very interesting and captivating. The story blends mystery, suspense, and horror very well and it's covered in a dark, immersive atmosphere. From beginning to end, I was following right along with Min as he told his story - the twisted events that led up to his coma. And, I was equally captivated as he continued deeper into the mystery - attempting to piece together his broken memories. Who was the killer? Who's on the other side of the phone? What are the "spiders"? These questions ran through my head; an excellent example of a film that keeps you guessing. Every piece of dialogue - every authentic conversation - flow together smoothly keeping you glued to your seat. The ending of the film delivers great twists, although it may have been done before. The film is also drenched in symbolism; your interpretation may not be the same as mine, and I love this; it creates real conversation!

The acting in this film is great. Kam Woo-Sung, who plays Kang Min, is great as a frustrated and confused widow. The special effects are limited, although the makeup is shocking in the aftermath shots of the murders. (the decomposing bodies with deep lacerations and covered in cobwebs.) The cinematography is also superb, the shots in the Spider Forest are beautiful. I loved the music in the film; it added to the noir-like, mystery style of the film, and worked very well to create suspense.

Overall, Spider Forest is a great murder mystery. The suspense and mystery create a genuinely immersive thriller. However, it can be a bit confusing and the ambiguity can be overwhelming; this is a film, like many great mystery films, that will likely benefit from a second viewing.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, nudity and sex (3 scenes, no more than 20 seconds each)

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