on 11 July 2006
What with the explosion of soul-less American remakes of Asian films beginning to die out, now would be a good time to catch the few films which are still untouched by the blockbuster treatment. It is with a sad sigh that this film will probably be remade into a glossy American, high budget affair with lots of attractive Americans posing in designer stubble. And this will be a real shame, as one thing that Eastern horror films stands head and shoulders above their American copies is their use of space and tension over gore and special effects.
Where Asian horror films succeed is their use of waiting. Like the old adage that the journey is better than the destination, most of the fear lies in waiting for the actual moment, rather than the moment itself. The human mind and its imagination is a powerful tool, and the makers of R-Point clearly understand this. Instead of trying to scare the viewer by showing whatever it maybe that is doing the scaring, the film piles on the atmosphere by keeping it hidden, using location and the viewers own imagination to make it uncomfortable to watch. Visual scenes of horror are few and far between, but where the film works is in its apprehension, the tension that builds as clues are dropped as too what maybe going on.
Another victory is scored through the script, as in not the spoken dialogue, but the way in which completely innocent events which happened previously are shown later to be excatly the opposite. This is nothing new in film making, but placed in such a forboding enviroment it starts to play tricks on the mind, and the thoughts that accompany film watching are scrambled and eventually you start to become as confused and bewildered as the protagonists in the film.
If you are used horror being about any of the following: oceans of blood, knives, prom queen virgins, homicidal dolls, dumb American jocks, stupid police, spooky sanitriums, quiet suburban streets, daft hysteria, and having everything explained so you know what is going on, then you should look elsewhere.
If, however, you are clever enough to appreciate the creativity and imagination that goes into creating a unique piece of true psychological horror, then watch this quickly before America bumbles in and takes away everything that makes it special.
NB: A couple of people have mocked the silliness of the script, but bear in mind it is made in Korea and so reflects the way Koreans speak, not the way English speak. ( some people obviously expect everything to revolve around them ) This is no way detracts from the film itself.
on 5 February 2006
This film is by far the strangest horror film i've seen in a while!
It blends dark humour, with at times, harsh realism, whilst simultaneously integrating an underlying sense of unease.
The basic plot is essentially, that these fairly inexperienced soldiers are placed under the command of the suspicious, seemingly disturbed anti-hero of the film.
Their mission is to go to point 'R', find the missing squad, and bring them back all in time for supper. their incentive for this mission, is that they will all be relieved of active duty in Vietnam and sent home on an aeroplane back to their loved ones, should they succeed.
However, as you'd expect, nothing is as it seems in point 'r', and things quickly start to turn ugly...
"R-Point" is an eclectic blend of dark, sometimes Milligan-esque humour, with gritty realism and often very disconcerting imagery and sound effects. "R-Point" is quite an anti-war film, portraying very human characters, in almost hyperbolic way in order to get across the uniqueness of each character, and the way in which each character copes with the effects of war as well as the horrors of r-point. The camera work and special effects are very good, and the violence is sparse and so, always a bit of a shock when it does happen. The actors work very well together and the sense of foreboding never lets up once it starts.
There are a few negative points, e.g as the parts towards the end
and personally, i think they could have made some parts last a little longer to increase unease, but i guess that's just me.
In all honesty though, this is a thoroughly enjoyable film, and i
recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller or horror film, and who has an eye for spotting subtle film references. There are some amazingly dark set-pieces, and some original twists, as well as some very humorous dialogue, however, anyone expecting copious amounts of violence and very little dialogue may not necessarily enjoy it!
on 3 February 2014
Not bad, but to be honest I found myself sitting around waiting for something to happen for the majority of the movie, and it never really did. Quite a weak horror, even for low budget with nothing very memorable. Worth a watch if you've a few hours to kill.
on 6 December 2005
The Americans intend to remake R-Point, but don't let that put you off. R-Point isn't a Vietnam war movie. I guess it's a horror movie, but not in the mould of most Korean horror movies.
R-Point isn't a great movie. The incoherent plot is slightly annoying as you wait for a smart twist that unfortunately doesn't appear from the foggy (Cambodian) jungle. Having said that it looks fantastic, has some very creepy moments and overall is a very enjoyable movie. If you're looking for a horror flick you could do much worse. I recommend this movie.
The film tells the tale of a group of 9 South Korean soldiers , during the Vietnam War, sent to rescue another group of soldiers (at R-point) who were thought lost, presumed dead, 6 months earlier, but who are now transmitting again (albeit in a slightly deathly tone) over the radio to their base.
The rescue mission is led by Lt. Choi, who seems to be suffering from some kind of PTSD at the beginning. The soldiers are told that they will be entering a non-combat zone, to seek their comrades, yet almost immediately are fired upon by a lone enemy. What follows is a slow, psychological thriller as much as a horror story, as the group slowly disintegrate in the face of supernatural occurrences.
I am a huge fan of South Korean films generally, so I was always going to be kindly predisposed to this one. While the basic story is not original, I liked the idea of setting it during the Vietnam War and the jungle setting gave it an unsettling feel (while reminding me of a little of "Lost"). The gore element is very light, the tension coming more from the oppressive jungle atmosphere and very limited musical score, adding to the sense of isolation. I liked the arrival of the Americans, which was a nice touch and I felt the brief interaction and switch to English, gave the film a sense of the group being part of a wider picture, before being isolated again, back into their own small world.
Some of the English subs. probably need a bit of a tweak for grammar and accuracy but they didn't spoil the film for me.
Finally, I suspect that, perhaps, some of the cultural significance of some of the ghostly spiritual undertones may be lost on me, given I am from the west, but still definitely worth a look.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.
So why not a higher score? Three things for me;
firstly, having now watched this film twice now, I think I now know who all the soldiers are, but there is very little back story or time taken to introduce them to the viewer, which is a pity, as their individual demise has less impact because you never really got to know them. I thought the character of Choi in particular, could have been developed more, given he was in charge and his PTSD could have added an element of instability to his acts and decisions.
Secondly, some parts seemed unrealistic for the behaviour of an army unit. For example, not noticing there was an extra soldier on the beach, when they land who was not there when they were at the dock. Really? I mean there were only 9 to begin with, not 99! Also, the indisciplined way many of the soldiers behaved, just didn't feel right; I didn't think there was enough provocation for how quickly they fell apart, given they were meant to be experienced soldiers. Only Lt. Choi seemed to be able to hold it together (until the ending, anyway).
Finally, I thought the "lady in white" was unnecessary and slightly confusing, to me, at least (why was she the one shooting at them at the beginning and also in the French photo?). They could simply have gone down the route of a "ghost" occupying different members of the group, without anyone else realising, to act as a catalyst for the paranoia and ensuing disintegration of discipline. (Choi realises people may not be who they seem to be near the end with his; 'name and rank" questions in the final act. More could have been made of this earlier, I think)
Anyway, only my opinion and maybe I'm over thinking it. As I said, definitely worth watching though.
on 8 August 2006
This Korean horror film is the story of a unit of soldiers searching for a missing unit of comrades in a remote area who find shelter in a derelict oriental palace during a terrible storm.
It soon becomes clear that evil lurks close at hand. As if the unit stumbling into a lake full of dead bodies and finding a graveyard wasn't enough, the unit's commander has sightings of a woman luring him out of the palace into a storm while the entire unit is visited by a mysterious American patrol who walk out of the night.
The team are steadily driven crazy by an increasing number of weird encounters and happenings including strange messages coming through on their radio and the sudden realisation that not all of their company are who they seem to be.
R-point mixes classic western ghost-storytelling with oriental horror to provide a wonderfully eerie portrayal of a unit of soldiers in a remote location at the mercy of the supernatural.
The acting quality varies, the unit's commander pulling off a good portrayal of a man trying to keep order and calm in the face of inexplicable adversaries. However the portrayal of his unit occasionaly veers off to the camp/theatrical - despite the circumstances one still wouldn't expect trained soldiers to be squealing and crying every time they saw a corpse.
Nevertheless, it's a well thought out story drip-fed with strange encounters and twists and turns throughout, ensuring a good creepy pace and demanding the viewer's full attention.
It's also blessed with an exciting and an interesting finale.
on 11 August 2006
I did anjoy the movie but I think I expected much more.
A platoon of soldiers is sent out to locate or at least find some evidence of a platoon that went missing at R-Point, 6 months before. You get the idea that the place is a little out of whack from when they get there, shadows, people watching them and a girl who might or might not have been killed by the platoon as they grounded at the beach to go to 'R-point' keeps appearing to the seargeant.
Their two seargeants hate each other, one is a bit of a kamikaze and one seems aggressive all the time, the team themselves start biting at each other whilst tempers are frayed and then one of them goes missing. When one of the seargents reports the man missing the control tells him he must have lost his mind because the man he is reporting as missing was one of the people they were sent to find. I don't want to spoil the end but you get the impression that you've gone full circle and it left me a little confused.
There are a few very gory and well exceuted scenes and a few good scares but it didn't completely satisfy my asian horror needs.
Worth a watch but it isn't going to go to the top of my list I'm afraid.
on 20 May 2006
This is the scariest film that i have ever seen. R-point has a genuinly creepy atmosphere throughout. It has a few jumpy moments, a few terrifying sequences and, towards the end, a fairly large amount of blood. The story is pretty basic, as you'd expect from a horror, and the film escalates a little too much towards the end, but overall is absolutely fantastique!!!!
Heard the one about the army unit that comes across a haunted Keep/bunker/trench/rest home and find themselves killing each other as their past sins find them out? Well, you're about to hear it again, Korean style. Set during the Vietnam War, this is more inspired by WW1 chiller Deathwatch than The Keep (particularly the ghostly radio messages from dead troops), and certainly a lot better than the dire The Bunker, but despite some good moments and the odd good image thrown up en route - especially a thunderstorm in a field filled with war graves - it adds up to little. An unexceptional timefiller.
Adding to the general unimpressiveness on Tartan's UK DVD is a poor NTSC-to-PAL standards conversion transfer which results in a soft picture and some ghosting of the wrong kind. Extras are more impressive, with subtitlred director and producer's commentary, several featurettes and a trailer.
A brilliant Korean war-movie cum ghost-story. Creepy and compelling, this is a film that lingers in the mind long after it has run its course. The plot is at times a little abstruse and some of the acting a little broad, but this doesn't detract from the overall effect of the movie. One to watch and savour.