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Simon Read [Film Festival 06.24.08] movie review horror

Year: 2007
Release date: Unknown
Director: Derek Son
Writer: Derek Son & Park Sun-jae
IMDB: Not available
Trailer: Not available
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Cadaver is a South Korean horror film that follows a group of freshman medical students in their first autopsy class. Naturally and from the get-go things don’t go well for them - hallucinations, spooky dreams, blackouts and a general air of discomfort freak these kids out until they inevitably start to find themselves in serious danger. When the body count starts to mount they return to the laboratory to try and uncover some answers, and get far more than they bargained for.

A lot of interesting films have been coming out of S. Korea in the last few years and this one more than most seems particularly westernised. The characters all seem to conform to the traditional western teen-horror film archetypes. We’ve got the cocky rich guy who drives a fast car and has daddy fitting the bills, the bitchy girl who sleeps around and screams a lot (you just know she’s going to get it), the dorky girl with good grades, the fat guy that nobody really wants to be around and of course the perfect couple, the ones you immediately assume will save the day. Somewhere between Ringu and I Know What You Did Last Summer, this is certainly an enjoyable horror film with some really quite scary moments and a good driving tension, but it doesn’t really seem to do anything new with its set-up. The acting is in parts both great and also pretty cheesy on occasion and the direction is confident and accomplished enough. The dialogue alternates from unintentionally funny, “Guys, I think we’ve cut open a body that harbours and angry spirit!” to actually laugh out loud and most definitely intentionally hilarious, “You ready to rock and roll? F-Yeah! Woo!”

As far as the story goes Cadaver seems uncertain as to whether it is a dramatic thriller or a full on horror film. While pretty gory it also concentrates heavily on the effect the situation has on each character and their relationships, which detracts slightly from the occasional scenes of sudden violence, it does tend to get a bit talky and melodramatic when half of the audience would probably just prefer more zombies and one eyed psychotic doctors running about. I’m not really complaining, it is interesting to see a foreign horror film building on characterisation, although it doesn’t always work. It’s one thing to use the standard two-dimensional teenage cut-outs, but another to try injecting them overly with sympathy and depth when most of them end-up as cadavers anyway. In all it's a decent film, perhaps a little heavy going and it could have benefited from concentrating more on the horror and less on how everyone is ‘feeling’.

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