Monday, November 30, 2009

The Butcher

The Butcher 2007
Director: Kim Jon-Win
Writer: Kim Jon-Win
Starring Kim Sung-Il and You Dong-Hun

Korean horror films seem to be some of the best ones coming out of the Asian market these days. I had heard a lot about his film, about how brutal and shocking it was, and it did not disappoint. This film is an assault on the senses and one of the most mind numbing films I have seen since Inside. It is a unflinching and brutal look into the world of snuff filmmaking and it grabs a hold of your psyche and does not let go until long after the film ends. It uses the technique of the hand held camera very well and it does become nauseating, but I think in this case that is what the filmmakers were aiming for. The conceit of switching between the POV of the makers of this film atrocity and the victims are a great idea and it is handled wonderfully in this film. This is one of those films that after viewing it you cant believe you were able to endure it. But, after thinking about it the film grows on you. It is kind of the same way that I was affected by seeing Cannibal Holocaust for the first time. That is now one of my favorite films, so you never know what kind of impression a film of this type will make upon you.
The plot basics are this, at a undisclosed location, the film opens in a slaughterhouse where it seems some anonymous people are going to begin making a film. This is no ordinary film though, as the filmmakers are preparing to torture and kill some unsuspecting couple for the amusement of someone who is willing to pay for this experience. The filmmakers put cameras on their victims heads, so they can witness the POV of them as they torture, degrade, rape and kill them in the most profane ways. The director makes a deal with the husband and shockingly he takes it at the shock of his wife, just so he can survive. He then makes his escape and does whatever is humanly possible to survive this ordeal, regardless of how much of his sanity and morals are left intact at the end.
This is a very well executed film. It is not a fun thing to watch, but the direction by Jon-Kim is captivating till the bittersweet ending. The way he balances between the POV's of the filmmakers and the victims are jarring and it works very well. The film has a short running time, but the director knows that the viewer does not need to be subjected to theses horrors any longer than what is necessary. The script is really good. You feel the terror of the victims and the sheer depraved joy that the filmmakers get out of inflicting these horrors. The cast is good, they convey all the senses that the viewer needs in a tense and shocking film such as this. The way they portray the roles without giving the viewer too much too latch onto really makes the viewer a kind of sick voyeur in the process and that works really well. The SFX and effects are very good. The blood is jarring and the torture scenes are really quite effective. The best example of this was when the female was killed, it was sickening but you could not look away. This was a original and creative take on both the Hostel type of film and the hand held camera horror film and is well worth seeking out for horror fans looking for something different to whet their appetite with.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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