Friday, October 13, 2017

Film Review: The Piper (2015)

The Piper (Review)
South Korea/2015
Format Viewed for Review: DramaFever
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"Although the first hour might have some filler and pacing issues, the film ultimately leaves a strong impression."

After the Korean war, a father and his son travel through the country in hopes of reaching Seoul, but they stumble upon an isolated village where everything is not what it seems...

The Piper isn't a traditional horror/mystery film. It's definitely not the type of film that tries to keep you at the edge of your seat from beginning to end. No, the plot takes its (sweet) time to develop the characters and the situation. The story follows Woo-ryong (Ryu Seung-ryong), a musician, and his son, Young-nam. While traveling to Seoul to meet a doctor to cure Young-nam's tuberculosis, the father-son pair stumbles upon an isolated village—a village that doesn't seem to realize the Korean war has ended. The village chief (Lee Sung-min) especially doesn't want Woo-ryong telling his people that it's safe outside. Woo-ryong agrees to keep his secret and solve a rat infestation problem in exchange for their hospitality and a large sum of cash. However, the villagers are not exactly who they pretend to be... It all leads to a strong climax and a good ending.

The Piper won't be a film for everyone. It is a slow-paced film. I emphasize 'slow' because it can be very slow. At times, it feels like its purposely dragging itself out just to extend the runtime. However, at the same time, I'm not sure the climax would have been so effective if it weren't for the strong buildup and character development. Sure, some of the time spent may have been boring, but it does help create a connection between the audience and the character. The climax really had me fuming, hoping for most gruesome revenge. It is a very effective revelation. The final act has some issues, too—parts of it came off as underwhelming—but the ending was ultimately good.

The acting was also great. Seung-ryong performed well as the leading man. Lee sung-min and Chun Woo-hee were also great in their supporting roles. Even the child actors were great. The film was shot well. Some of the visuals were fantastic. However, there are some computer effects in here and those were mediocre at best. The music was very good, though. The film was written and directed by Kim Gwang-tee. Kim's writing is thorough, clearly focusing on every detail to create some very interesting characters. At the same time, his writing/plot is a bit too detailed. It's like a book with too much filler. In terms of direction, Kim pulls great performances from his cast, creates some compelling visuals, and delivers a strong story without compromising on his vision.

Overall, The Piper was a very good movie. Although the first hour might have some filler and pacing issues, the film ultimately leaves a strong impression. If you can tolerate the slow pace and you're looking for a horrific story of vengeance, this might be for you.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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