Let’s face it, since Scream (1996) disassembled the modern horror movie and laid out its parts for all to see, there have been virtually no advances in the genre. Some movies went the splatter route, with ‘torture porn’ like Saw (2004) and Hostel (2005). Other movies did the haunted house routine, like The Others (2001) and What Lies Beneath (2000), relying on A-list stars to bring in an audience. If you want something fresh in horror, you have to look abroad.
Made in South Korea by first time director Huh Jung for less than two and a half million dollars, Hide and Seek became a number one box office hit. In South Korea, of course, it didn’t get a theatrical release in the US. But now, thanks to the miracle of Video on Demand, you can watch this movie in the comfort of your own
blood-strewn bunker home.
The movie concerns the doings of Sung-Soo – small business owner, husband, and father to two children. He’s got a great apartment and an awesome Audi. Could a perfect guy like this be harboring a secret? (Duh). He gets a phone call that his black sheep brother has gone missing. So he goes to investigate – to the worst apartment complex in South Korea. Then things start to go wrong..
Working at a leisurely pace, Hide & Seek layers creepiness on creepiness. It starts out vaguely unsettling, and then turns up the dial until you begin itching uncontrollably and start craving a shower. I was totally with this movie until the last 15 minutes or so. It feels like they shot two endings, a happy one and a sad one, and then decided to use both. Still, a solid movie from a first-time director. Not as mind-bogglingly disturbing as a film by Takashi Miike, but close enough.