Thursday, 22 October 2009

Halloween 'Haul' Of Horror

Juk-Eum-Yi Soop
Dark Forest
aka Woods Of Death
(2006/South Korea)

Sown from the seed of Sam Raimi, and nurtured by The Happening of M. Night Shyamalan, Korean cinema lets loose the Evil forces of nature upon those that dare trespass upon the Dark Forest.

Five young adults venture off for a camping trip, leaving the city behind them and getting back to nature. The lead female is overcoming the recent death of her sister, who just so happened to pass on the family heritage of psychic foresight. The ability to have a glimpse into recent events happened, or very soon to be, by having physical contact with a person or associative item. Freakier than a Carrie (1976) curtain call, and when death lurks just around the corner perhaps ignorance is bliss !.

When their preferred passage is blocked the pre twenties teens take a detour, ignoring the sign posted advice to turn back to the main road. They arrive at the parameter of a cordoned off forest, its boundary fenced and a sturdy steel gate padlocking it off from the outside world. Another vehicle is parked adjacent to the fence, its occupants no where to be seen. Taking their predecessors non appearance as an indication that they are beyond the fence having fun, as an invitation to do the same, the fun seeking five ignore the no trespass warning and cross on over into the woodlands.
All those familiar with The Evil Dead (1981) will know what to expect from here on in, and its kinda like a kid in a Korean candy store unearthing a late night treat that no one outside of its home production is privy to. Sure its shot on digital video and not film, but that just adds to the thrill factor of unearthing this well conceived little homage. It has enough in its engine to drive home the goodies all its own as well. This isn’t just a brazen rerun of the Raimi cult classic, but a modern slant with some fresh jumpy juice added to the mix.

There is nothing new about no cell phone reception in the area and one of the parties twisting her ankle to slow the progress of the group, but it’s the linear story that takes its straightforward premise from start to satisfying end that keeps it well worth watching. More than a healthy smattering of blood spurts and arterial sprays as the kills come help of course. Human possession by the unseen evil of the forest can only of course be dealt with by dismemberment and a good old fashioned shovel to the throat region, deftly applying weight behind a downward thrust foot, heads things off nicely !. With a quirkiness that hit’s the right note subtly rendered early on, listen out for a news item on the radio as the protagonists journey to their destination, that hit’s a fun fan with an ironic splatter post script, these Woods Of Death could well branch out into a mainstream remake.

It’s a basic plot and the premise is pre-emptive, yet the sauce on the movie meat is tasty enough, and the ending has a surprise bite to it to satisfy the horror hungry brigade.

Review Paul Cooke / Source: Region 3 NTSC DVD

Dark Forest (2006)
Director Kim Jeong Min
With So Yi Hyun, Lee Jong Hyuk


  1. Ive actually been wondering about this one, I'll throw it on the Netflix que to check out before buying but thanks for the heads up!