Spider Forest

"OK"

Spider Forest Review


It's not just the Japanese who are having a great time with supernatural horror movies these days. Korea has a burgeoning horror industry too, and K-horror can be just as gripping -- and confusing -- as J-horror.

Like Memento or Jacob's Ladder, Spider Forest is a tale about amnesia told from the perspective of the amnesiac, and that makes it a puzzle, perhaps too much of a puzzle for moviegoers who like their entertainment to be of the more linear variety. We begin with documentary filmmaker Kang Min (Woo-seong Kam) finding himself with a vicious head wound deep in Spider Forest. How did he get there? And what's in that spooky house on the hill? And how does his wife, who died a year earlier in a plane crash, figure in? Where is the film from her camera? And who is that young woman who works in the photo shop? Do all of Kang Min's problems go back to his unhappy childhood? And is he a murderer?

So many questions, so little explanation. From all that mystery emerges one central figure, the girl in the photo shop. Min Su-jin (Jung Suh) seems to know a lot both about the present and the past. Kang Min is lured to her, and to the forest, where he has repeated visions of a gruesome double murder by sickle, the kind of crime that inevitably features a severed jugular vein spraying quarts of blood all the way across the room. (The Koreans are definitely as good at this effect as the Japanese.)

No matter how many long drives Kang Min takes, no matter how many times he interviews with the cops, no matter how many cell phone calls he makes (so typical in all Asian horror films these days), and no matter how much help he gets from his friend on the police force, he simply can't seem to put any of the pieces together. He seems to think he witnessed the blood-soaked murder, and he thinks the murderer is the same person who hit him on the head and later chased him onto a highway where he was hit by a truck (a rough night all around), but with more than an hour to go it becomes pretty obvious who this alleged murderer might be, the rest of the movie becomes a convoluted exegesis on split personalities, time travel, and the laws of physics as they apply to horror movies.

Spider Forest is interesting enough and watchable, but it lacks that aha! moment that those who stick with such a confusing story deserve in the end.

Aka Geomi Sup.



Spider Forest

Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Friday 3rd September 2004

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Il-Gong Song

Producer: Dae-hyeon Kim

Starring: Kam Wu-seong as Kang Min, Jung Suh as Min Su-jin, Jang Hyun-sung as Choi, Seong-hyeon, Kyeong-heon Kang as Hwang, Su-yeong, Son byeong-ho as Kim Cheol-ju

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