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Saturday, November 19, 2022

"Warning: Do Not Play".... Korean horror movie review, part one


  Release Date: August 15, 2019   Length: 85 minutes   Director/Writer: Kim Jin-Won

Main Cast: There were many characters but only these four had a lot of screen time, especially the 'heroine' Mi-Jung who was on screen 90% of the time.

Seo Yea-Ji as Park Mi-Jung.... At the end of the film did have to wonder if she really was a 'heroine'! Mi-Jung is a 28 year old director/writer who has mainly done short films and she is a horror buff so her first regular film naturally has to be terrifying. However Mi-Jung can't come up with a script until one day she learns of an old horror flick that had been banned.... because the story was true?!

Jin Seon-Kyu as Kim Jae-Hyeon....Man 38 in age who had written the script for the "Warning" movie which may be remade by Mi-Jung. Jae-Hyeon was the writer of the original film done ten years before and took over as the editor/director when the rest of the staff.... DIED!!!! These days he's a broken man because of the film's curse and has warned Mi-Jung from remaking it.

Cha Yeob as Cha Gwang-Bae.... The director of the original film though we only see him in videos that were found from ten years ago which was a behind the scene doc of the movie.

Ji- Yoon-Ho as Kim Joon-Seo.... Mi-Jung's best friend who works at a coffee shop. But he knows his films and has worked on and off with Mi-Jung over the years. Joon-Seo is a whiz at computers and may have restored the "Warning" film, he just may be the only person to have viewed the entire film.

 English subbed trailer for the movie


 Am caught up with my drama watching for this week though am currently recapping two series and won't start on any next month. So that'll give me time to hopefully watch a few more films and this will be the fifth Korean movie I've reviewed this year. Their horror films aren't quite as good as they were a decade or longer ago but all I've viewed have been decent enough and they have been better than the ones from Japan. So will continue on with my usual pattern for these reviews which is to have two posts to make it easier to read, then again did take 95 screenshots(!) which is too many for one post. That part two will be the next post and will give a grade for it then, perhaps also talk a bit about this movie's main star who is Seo Yea-Ji, have heard of her but know practically nothing about her.

 Bit of a slow beginning which is the norm for Korean horror movies. But the intensity really builds up and you're gasping for air during the last half hour. The majority of screenshots will feature the lead woman of Mi-Jung, she's wearing glasses which is probably to give her an unglamorous look as she does look mighty fine without them. Mi-Jung is an aspiring director/writer but to date has only done a handful of short films. But her studio has high hopes for her and has told Mi-Jung to write a horror script for a regular length movie, that's fine by her as she's such a horror film buff. However she has a bad case of writer's block and can't think of an original story no matter how much research she does. That's Yoon in the second screenshot, he's Mi-Jung's studio advisor and has given her a break with the script but he's warned her she better have something in two weeks or else!

 In the third and fourth screenshots is Mi-Jung's best friend Joon-Seo, the pair met in college and have a platonic relationship. Joon-Seo is just working in a coffee shop but he is a whiz at film and video editing, he's worked on and off again with Mi-Jung over the years. She told him about the problems coming up with a script and Joon-Seo has heard of an urban legend that may be true and could possibly be a story worth following up on for her film script. Years ago a horror film was made, it was so terrifying it was banned as most of the staff died and someone had a heart attack at the film's premiere! But he knew nothing else about the film such as the title or when it as made. Mi-Jung did some research and found out that a senior film major at Deajeon University had made the film but no one there knows what's happened with the director or film. Will say that luck was on Mi-Jung's side but not so sure about that! After getting nowhere with a professor from the University Mi-Jung overheard some students from the school that night while she was drinking her sorrows away. They seemed to be film students and also had a vast knowledge of movies, taking a chance Mi-Jung approached them to find out some answers about this mysterious movie.

 As far as info goes Mi-Jung struck a gold mine as this trio of students knew almost everything she was searching for. "Warning" was the name of the film that was made ten years ago but soon was banned due to it being too terrifying, there's plenty of rumors about the film such as that it was made by a ghost! Also it appears no one has ever seen the completed film, least no one living! So Mi-Jung continued her search as she now has plenty of clues to go by, first off was checking where the film was supposed to have its first screening ten years ago. However just before the screening the movie was cancelled but there was a video at the film festival office, while the clerk helping her stepped out of the office Mi-Jung helped herself to a copy of the video!!!! But to her dismay it was only a 65 second segment from the film, not even its official trailer. But there was a bit more info about the staff at the end of the short video, such as the phone # and e-mail of the director.

 Do have to point out Mi-Jung at this stage has decided not to do a complete remake of "Warning" but have half the film showing her on the hunt for this banned movie. So some of the film will be a documentary of her search while the other bits will be new and a semi remake of the original, also some footage from the 2008 movie will be spliced in. Being ten years after the fact the phone number and e-mail are no longer in use, Mi-Jung is a woman who is hard to stop so her next step was to go on a forum, post the 65 second video and hope there are some out there who have even more info on what really place.... were the events real or truly just rumors. After a few days finally there was a response to Mi-Jung's post and of all people it was the film's director Jae-Hyun! What a deranged man he sounded like as he kept repeating over and over to Mi-Jung to delete the video at the forum and forget all about the movie! Mi-Jung's life is now so consumed with her project and she's told the director she will delete the short video.... only if they can meet face to face!

 That's the director of "Warning" Jae-Hyun in the top two screenshots and the bottom one. He's now 38 in life and looks to be twice as old, describing him as deranged was an understatement! He's demanded that Mi-Jung not only delete the video from the forum, which did happen, but also to destroy the tape or else she'll end up just like him, a shell of a human being! Not too much was said during this mini encounter but somehow Jae-Hyun knew everything about Mi-Jung's life and even came close to assaulting her once he figured out she wants to do a documentary style film about his movie. Not a long conversation but one that truly spooked Mi-Jung who then secretly followed Jae-Hyun back to his residence, an old run down and seemingly uninhabitable building in a seedy section of Seoul.

 However Jae-Hyun didn't enter his place right then, instead he took a detour to a store and this was the chance Mi-Jung had been hoping for. She didn't know exactly where Jae-Hyun lived but was able to figure it out quickly as there was one section in this run down building that looked lived in. There's a few screenshots above of Mi-Jung searching the place, hopefully she'll find whatever it is before the return of Jae-Hyun. Like most horror films the setting is quite dark and you can notice that in the screenshots, wasn't much easier viewing it because of the darkness. Mi-Jung has been lucking out in her searches as this time she struck real pay dirt, a video of the "Warning" film was found in a small cubby hole. Jae-Hyun's entire residence was like a tomb or some sort of calling to the dead as many candles and eerie pictures/photos were set up everywhere, a run down place but quite huge.

 We're getting close to the halfway point of the film so will make this the last paragraph for this post. That hunt did take a while and shortly after Mi-Jung found the video Jae-Hyun has made his return. She was hiding under his bed and listened to a ranting Jae-Hyun rant on and on about a woman from the film named Soon-Mi as he was guzzling some bottles of Soju. Eventually Mi-Jung was discovered and there was no way Jae-Hyun was going to let her flee with the video. He did beat Mi-Jung rather badly and would he have killed her if it came down to it? Think the answer to that is Yes but Mi-Jung was finally able to knock her assailant out with a brick and fled the seedy building with the video in hand. But for now the video is a bit worthless, it's encrypted and her friend Joon-Seo is trying to open it and possibly save the film. Bit by bit he's been doing that but what an odd video it was, it appears the "Warning" film isn't on the tape but behind the scenes segments of making the film. But soon they will prove to be very useful as there was a lot of footage of a younger Jae-Hyun who ten years ago was a somewhat normal person, he was the writer of "Warning" and had said seeing the "Exorcist" film had saved his life which is why he wanted to make horror flicks. So that brings us up to the halfway point with the screenshots and the second part of this film review is the next post. These pics should help you follow the story a bit better, slow start but the second half is so much more intense. 

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