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H (2002): They’re Both Totally Void of Hate, but Killing Me Just the Same

H (Jong-hyuk Lee, 2002)

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Mad Lieutenant.

Se7en Meets Silence of the Lambs! crows the cover art, obviously written for an American audience, that adorns this movie at Netflix. I read a review on IMDB from a person who mentions that overseas box art compares the film to Tellmisseomding. All of these comparisons have teeth, but as this movie progressed, I found myself thinking more and more of Kyua, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s immensely entertaining supernatural take on …Lambs. H is not as good a movie as any of the above, but its problems are relatively minor and if you’re looking for a fun locked-room murder mystery, this will fill the bill nicely.

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Niiiiightclub… jiiiiiiters…
the only thing that scares me is the dark…

Shin-hyun (Marathon‘s Seung-woo Cho), a serial killer, turns himself in and is locked up. Everything seems great…until a year later, when two recent crimes are uncovered that bear the marks of being Shin-hyun’s work. The only problem is that he was in prison when they occurred. So the two detectives who were originally assigned to the case, Mi-yun Kim (Tellmisseomding‘s Jung-ah Yum) and Tae-hyun Kang (Perhaps Love‘s Jin-hee Ji in her first screen appearance), hit the bricks to see if they can figure out whether they’ve got a copycat on their hands, or whether Shin-hyun is masterminding what could be an entire network of serial killers from behind bars. Or whether the answer is something even weirder…

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“I’m a cop. And you’re not.”

It’s quite a slick little film that wears its influences on its sleeve maybe a little too much; it tries to make up for this by coming up with a bang-up plot twist, and for what it’s worth, they did a good job at it. The Big Reveal(TM) here is an interesting take on a couple of stock plot twists, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them combined in quite this way before (though I can identify three or four things that might have been direct influences). That’s ultimately not enough to balance the weight of the movie’s derivative nature, but as long as you’re willing to put that to the side, it’s a well-acted, well-presented little movie, and you won’t feel you’ve wasted two hours after watching it. ***

Trailer. New and improved, now with foot-long SUBS!

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

One response »

  1. Pingback: Samaria (Samaritan Girl) (2004): A Dreamer of Pictures, I Run in the Night | Popcorn for Breakfast

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