No, it's not the old 80's kids show involving a kid with a large helmet on his head running through a CG play area...
Whether you like it or not, the world's movie industry thrives off the same premise - take an original film which creates a stir worldwide and copy it relentlessly. Take The Matrix for example - now there's a bullet time scene in everything from hotel adverts to music videos. During the mid 90's, one horror film changed the genre practically overnight. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Scream. Ever since its release, slasher movies have come back in a big way. Practically every horror film released since has copied this film's formula, which in itself was simply a hybrid of every other slasher film during the 70's and 80's, married with Wes Craven's previous film, New Nightmare. And then we have Ringu (yes, I know... but I have to mention it here). Since its success, a million and one horror films with a similar theme have been rushed out to an ever adoring fan base. This now takes us nicely to Nightmare - a Korean attempt to meld the US post-Scream slasher genre with the Ringu series.
The story is based upon a group of friends known as "A Few Good Men". You have all your usual slasher stereotypes here - the sports jock, the attractive yet vindictive model wannabe, the straight edged girl who you know will end up as the hero, and the spectacle wearing geek. Our heroine here is Hye-Jin, a psychology student who also helps out at the gardens on the campus. She's visited one night by an old friend who she hasn't seen for over 2 years, Seon-Ae. Seon-Ae is terrified - she's having visions of a girl they once knew who committed suicide. Surprise, surprise, she appears to them dressed in black with long, black hair, and Seon-Ae fears for her life. Soon enough, Hye-Jin is also having these visions, along with every other member of her group. Soon enough, each member is killed off one by one by an unknown assassin. Could this be the ghost of their former friend? Has she come back from the grave? Do we really care?
The main problem with this film is that it's so uninspired. They've obviously tried to do something with the slasher genre by adding the supernatural element, but this has been done far better by films such as Final Destination and even Darkness Falls to some degree. There's nothing new here at all, and you really won't find yourself coming back to it. There are a few moments which seem to lead up to something new, but they're never fully realised and end up falling flat on their face. It's frustrating to watch, and you just wish that they had simply taken a little more time on the script. The flash back sequences are mildly interesting, but they're few and far between. The twist during the third act is somewhat predictable, yet it seems tacked on and out of place. It also feels like something you've seen a thousand times before.
The direction is somewhat flat here, and it seems as if the makers are simply trying to copy scenes directly from successful US slasher films. In terms of visuals, there's only one moment at the end which will entertain you, but even that is ripped off somewhat from the original Candyman.
The DVD is pretty standard as well. The picture is quite detailed, and colours are quite vibrant when used. The sun-bleached flashbacks are a nice contrast to this, what with their grainy appearance and distorted colours. It's a full screen presentation, but it doesn't seem to be a pan and scan job. Sound wise, we're given a pretty uninspiring Dolby and DTS 5.1 mix of the original Korean dialogue. They'll hardly test your system, and there's very little difference between the two. Subtitles are sometimes horrendous, with embarrassing mistakes quite frequently popping up. But they do follow the on screen action nicely.
This isn't a bad film - it's just not very good. If you're a die-hard slasher fan, then you'll probably want to see this purely out of interest in seeing how other cultures perceive them.
Review by Steve Smith
|Extras : see main review|