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Sil jong
Sil jong (2009)
  • Director:
    Sung-Hong Kim
  • Category:
  • Cast:
    Ja-Hyeon Chu,Min-hee Ha,Gi-ho Heo
  • Time:
    1h 39min
  • Year:
(Korean with English subtitles) Inspired by the real story of a Korean serial killer, Missing is one woman's intense journey into the dark den of depravity. Hyeon-jeong ventures to a small countryside village in search of her missing sister. When she finally gets a lead and arrives at the local recluse's house, her worst nightmares is about to begin.
Credited cast:
Ja-Hyeon Chu Ja-Hyeon Chu
Min-hee Ha Min-hee Ha
Gi-ho Heo Gi-ho Heo
Eun-jeong Hwang Eun-jeong Hwang
Se-hong Jeon Se-hong Jeon
Seong-kun Mun Seong-kun Mun
Moon-cheol Nam Moon-cheol Nam

Sil jong (2009)
The crucial part of a scene where an axe is planted into someone's head is not how it goes in but how it comes out. That's where the director lets you in on what they're doing, what kind of film they're making and how good their chops are. You might think just based on the fact that we have an axe planted in someone's head that it tells you all you need to know about what kind of movie we're talking about, and you'd be right, up to a point. Billed as a serial killer thriller, Missing is a slasher movie, but it's not. It's got all the ingredients of a Friday the 13th style gorefest but seems to be targeting an older, if not wiser, demographic. I'm a bit surprised to read that this film has done reasonably well at the box office.

Missing is based on a true story. In August and September of 2007, a seventy year old South Korean fisherman killed four women in Bosung, South Jeolla Province, South Korea. All the publicity for the film lets us know that it's been fictionalized but I don't know if that is referring to the axe implantations, and other acts of that ilk, or the fact that the killer in the film is a sixty year old ex-restaurateur cum chicken farmer. Wikipedia doesn't have an entry for the guy so we'll have to wait to find out the facts.

South Korea's done pretty well with serial killer films based on true events. Memories of Murder and The Chaser come to mind. Missing isn't up to the caliber of those films, but it doesn't try to be like them either. It's not played from the point of view of a cop, or ex-cop's, investigation. It's a bit more simply voyeuristic. The first act observes the plight of one of the victims along with some collateral damage. It's got a gratuitous up-skirt shot, cameras that pans out from a girl's behind, a "Women in Prison" style shower scene, something somewhere between Deliverance and Last Tango in Paris, and an attempt at some Lorena Bobbitt flavored revenge. When you add all that up you should get something a lot less than what Missing ends up being. There is nothing remarkable about the style of the film but the production values are what you'd expect from a mainstream South Korean offering. It gives us exploitation within a mainstream frame.

Along with the cheap thrills of a crap horror movie we also get many more earmarks of the genre: an almost discovery that comes too early in the film; a freak accident that kicks the film into third gear; cops who refuse to help because there's insufficient evidence to do so; and above all, characters who don't act the way they should, like not running away or successfully killing the bad guy when it seems they have the chance, not to mention an ending that's tackily tacked on in order to have a sequel. (I don't think it's just a nod to the real thing) Missing is the most un-Korean Korean film I think I've seen. It's like a Hollywood film, only better. Watching it, I wasn't thinking it would be ripe for a Hollywood remake. I was trying to figure out what Hollywood movie it was a remake of. So much of it is so familiar. It doesn't reach for the epic proportions of a Se7en or a Silence of the Lambs, nor does it have any of the new wave stylings of the French extremists, but it also doesn't sink to the depths of a standard Hollywood slasher. It's not a great film, maybe not even a good one, but it's pretty good at being unlike what it seems to be. It should mildly satisfy gore hounds and horror enthusiasts while not completely turning off those who, if you were to mention something like a Fargo moment, might be prone to immediate dismissal.

The film is well cast too. Veteran actor Moon Seong-geun (Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Green Fish) plays the old man killer as utterly normal and utterly evil. Jeon Se-hong (Temptation of Eve) is sufficiently bodacious as the younger sister and first victim put through the grinder, so to speak, and Chu Ja-hyeon (Portrait of Beauty, Bloody Tie) plays the older sister who goes looking for her with enough intelligence and good looks to keep us on board for the duration. And there's motorbike riding coffee delivery girls in hot pants. But don't think you have this film figured out. It might surprise you. There will be blood.
I picked this movie up on the sole reason that it was a Korean movie, and usually Korea make fairly nice movies. "Missing" was another nice movie to come out of Korea.

The story is quite simple and doesn't really hold any surprises or twists, which is a shame really. Why? Well, because the story becomes a bit too uninspiring and linear. However, the fact that it is based on a true story does manage to pull the story up a notch. The story is basically about an old man who captures and tortures girls, only to kill them, and the people around him are clueless to his deviant behavior.

"Missing" has a relative small cast list, but it doesn't matter. Those people in the movie did a good job with their respective roles. The movie was especially carried by the girl playing the first woman to be captured. Her performance was really good, and she did manage to portray a woman in a dire situation quite well.

There are a couple of semi-brutal scenes in the movie, but nothing in comparison to some Japanese movies. But the harsh scenes do work well, because they are not in-your-face with gore and effects, and leaves your mind to fill in the blanks that the camera doesn't show. So that was a good aspect to the movie as well.

One thing that was tacky and sort of stupid, was the way the movie ended. I mean, come on, it was just too much. And also on the DVD cover it said "all the ingredients of a Friday 13th". Yeah, I hardly think so... But don't let that scare you off.

But all in all, "Missing" is a good thriller and provides good entertainment. If you are a fan of Asian movies, then you should check out "Missing", if you haven't already seen it.
In Missing we have a Korean take on the abduction themed neo-nasty picture, and what a generic take it is. Young actress looking for a break Hyun-Ah stops off at a chicken soup shop with a vaguely sleazy director, only to fall into the hands of the owner, only to fall into the evil clutches of the unhinged owner Pan-Gon, who cages her and subjects her to the expected indignities. And along the way Hyun-Ah's sister comes looking for her, and... well there aren't too many surprises here. Not much to see, quite literally as the film is rather restrained with only a few grisly moments and the impact of nastier scenes achieved mostly through reaction shots, the sort of work that brings off the odd brief wince but no real lasting squirmy impact. While Asian cinema often ups the ante in such territory bringing either psychological depth or full bore brutal theatrics, Missing generally lacks the excess of its more noted Western counterparts, and adding insult to injury opts to keep their flaws (inept decision making) instead. With all this it shouldn't be a remotely worthwhile experience, but it does succeed on minor terms, ending up a pretty watchable and by and large mindlessly entertaining affair. Seon-kun Mun is the definite highlight as the villainous Pa-Gon, playing with a low key loathsome menace tinged with pathos, one can see inside how he came to be how he is and the understanding complements his power as a baddie. Se-hong Jeon plays off him well as Hyun-Ah, sympathetic in her desperation with an edge of grit to raise her a little above the standard wailing victim. Ja-Hyeon Chu is decent as well as the investigating sister, convincing in her somewhat fearful determination. Along with the performances the setting and cinematography also work pretty well, creating a grim pocket of isolation just off the beaten track, a sense of fear that just past the outskirts of normality lurks evil. So the foundations are here, but not the crucial kick, a few neat jolts and twisted moments, some deaths and a wee splash of fun bloodshed but pretty much no scenes where the film really locks down to get fearsome, to really blast the audience somewhere dark and brutal. The end result was a film I found fun enough, pleasing enough, but not good enough to truly find memorable or commendable. Still a reasonably strong 5/10 from me though, the sort of film mostly to watch if you feel like you have to but one that won't disappoint too much if you enter with low expectations.
This is a "snuff" movie that involves young beautiful women, and a perverted serial killer.

An unsuspecting couple ends up in the chicken farm of a murderous killer. The value of the movie is in the beauty of the women involved, and how the authorities eventually figures out or don't figure out what's going on at the guy's chicken farm.

This is a pretty solid crime story. The production is good, and the story is also good. It's interesting to watch nice people talking to the antagonist completely oblivious to what's going on. The serial killer guy could have been bit more surreal. He's too one dimensional. Because of this, the story starts off good, but flattens out from the middle part on. The victims are also underutilized, and don't do much to make the movie more interesting.

So the movie turned out to be somewhat mediocre despite the good ingredients that it had.
I feel as my current rating says it all, and I'm the fan of revenge thrillers.

Korean revenge thrillers are usually gory, exploitative, mean spirited; sometimes over the top but the production, ideas and fun factor are on par. What has happened here?

OK, so it was gritty and grimy in parts, but what else? Pretty poor execution and weak story line as far as revenge thrillers go. I felt it was uninspired and just dull while trying to catch up with better genre entries.

The psycho killer looks like an old lady, our heroine lacks a few dozen pounds...how're these two underwhelming people going to hold the film on their shoulders, and better yet, provide some memorable and obligatory confrontation(fight) scenes? Even infamous police officers lacked much needed comedic skills, these people were just not funny and were very pale overall.

My attempts to relate to at least one character, smile or feel emotional now and then were barren...it just never happened. We have some typical pinku-type violence incorporated (abduction, rape, torture) but it just isn't pushing the right buttons. Sure, like already mentioned, some of it was unpleasant, as expected, but far from the level this genre has gotten us used to. Maybe I'm spoiled by much more effective, slick and superior films in the same vein? Cartoonish and one dimensional misogynistic males, anorexic or bimbotastic females....very superficial and enough for average exploitation flick, but for this genre, too simplistic and not good enough.

But, as far as (mostly off screen) violence it delivers occasionally, so not all's lost... Uninspiring and non charismatic leads, and unsatisfying ending combined with at least a couple of stupid calls and secondary characters that don't add up to tension, plot or anything much, grants this generic and forgettable picture an average score...lacks the impact, vision and the direction superior films of the ilk have...well, we can't all excel at what we do, can we?
The lead in the film is on a weekend trip with her married boss. The place they are to stay is next to the property of an old farmer. The farmer kills her boss, then imprisons her.

The farmer is a want-to-be songwriter, and he regales her with a song that he wrote using a karaoke machine while feeding her cake and coca cola. He uses frosting as a lubricant.

After ten days, the protagonist's sister follows the small number of leads she has to the correct area. The police tell the sister to get lost; there was not enough evidence for them to devote police resources to mount a search.

The protagonist's health starts its slide, but the kidnapper insists on oral sex. That does not go well. The sister finds the farmer, but does not find the confined protagonist.

After more digging, the sister gets more of an investigation, but the farmer was prepared for it. The police dismiss the sister's interest. Later the sister runs the farmer down by accident; he lures her to his place, and imprisons her.

One of the locals finally figures it out, and tries to extort some of the farmer's land from him. The farmer is a bit careless in disposing of the sister's van; this gets the cops involved again. So, that turns out to be enough to turn the tide of fortune against the farmer.

What are the final consequences of the actions of the principals?


Cinematography: 7/10 A bit jerky with frame jumping at times, but often sharp and well-done. In most streaming delivery I watch, I see none of this.

Sound: 8/10 Fine. Few problems.

Acting: 5/10 What was the character of the farmer's mother for? She could have been just mentioned, or actually have something substantial to say. The size of her presence was just awkward. The lady of negotiable virtue who served as supplier of just the right piece of information could have been done by an actor with a bit more experience. The performance by the actor who played the farmer was the biggest negative. I did not believe any of that performance.

Screenplay: 6/10 The story was not too improbable, but it could have been better executed.