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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A intricate psychological web, 16 Jun 2007
This review is from: Spider Forest [2004] [DVD] (DVD)
Films coming out of Korea at the moment are some of the most impressive in the world, and I'd put Spider Forest up there with the very best I have seen.

This is an artistically shot, psychological mystery film, highly cerebral & convoluted, deeply thought provoking. The story revolves around Kang Min, who awakes in a forest at night time and wanders through a forest into a small house, to find a couple of brutally murdered bodies - one of which is his girlfriend. He realises the killer is still on the scene, & Kang Min gives chase but is eventually rendered unconcious by the killer & when he stumbles onto the mian road is run down by a car and ends up in a coma. Suffering somewhat from memory loss, and the prime suspect in the case, Kang does his best to relate his story & his past to a police detective who is on his side. As the investigation continues, it becomes obvious that all is not as it seems, and the film slowly unfolds beautifully its dark secrets.

Part of what made this film good was that the viewer, like Kang is confusedly trying to piece together whats happened, and there are many highly symbolic clues throughout. Any slight supernatural elements to the film are brilliantly understated, meaning the film definately implies the psychological rather than the ghostly. Having said that, it has a unsettling feeling which is remeniscant more of a horror film than a murder mystery, but there arn't many outright scary moments (although the part when Kang becomes aware someone is in the forest watching him is very creepy, especially if you noticed someone we will come accross in the film later)

This isn't a straightforward film. Rather like another Korean film, A Tale of Two Sisters, it may have you thinking about it for many months to come. Highly reccomended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spider Forest is a worthy extension of cinematic ghost lore, 28 Aug 2007
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This review is from: Spider Forest [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This movie demands the viewer's close attention -- a meditation on memory and loss in which the semantics of film narrative are fractured and slowly re-arranged and rebuild over its considerable running time. The intention here is not to deliberately confuse the audience, but to replicate the multi layered nature of an extreme experience. In the film's worldview, reality is not a simple thing to understand.

Though unquestionably a horror film -- and a ghost story -- it is not typical in either its concerns or its methods. Like the surrealist films of David Lynch (especially Mulholland Drive), it rewards those willing to fore-go standard expectations and accept that reality's tapestry may be woven according to a logic that is the stuff of nightmare. I'm not sure whether or not Spider Forest resolves all its narrative loose ends or that it completely follows its own internal logic. But by the end its meanings are broadly apparent and as a cinematic experience it repays the effort needed to follow its convoluted path toward emotional resolution. It may not be as tightly controlled as Memento, with which it shares the theme of amnesia, but it may pack more of an emotional punch.

Kang (Woo-seong Kam) awakens, beaten and pained, and while trying to piece together the recent (and distant) past. He meets Min Su-jin (Jung Suh), a strange young woman whose subtle omnipresence suggests a connection with Kang's history that will be central to the narrative's final resolution. To reach that resolution, grief, fear and delusion intermingle and re-form in Kang's battered mind -- and in the mind of the audience, which is forced to experience the story from Kang's point-of-view. Reality and fantasy circle each other with the architectural difficulty of a spider's web -- a web in which Kang (and others) are caught. Temporal paradoxes and realized myth play further havoc with narrative simplicity.

The primary metaphor is that of the Spider Forest itself, a mythic place where the souls of those who are forgotten (and who have forgotten themselves) become the ever-present arachnids that haunt the place. These souls are trapped there in spidery oblivion until such time as they are remembered. This myth is both literal and figurative within the context of the narrative. It is not hard to see how it relates to Kang's psychic journey toward realization and acceptance. There are revelations, though director Il-gon Song does not strive to hide them from us; most viewers will suspect the identity of the murderer long before it is "revealed", as the visual cues are abundant. But the revelation isn't his primary concern. It is the complicated emotions that lie at its heart that matter, along with the details of the temporal web amongst which they have been hidden. This is why the film works -- and why it survives both its arguably excessive length and its conceptual ambiguities. Spider Forest is an extended hallucination, from the threads of which a complex emotional portrait is woven.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Moving Film, 18 April 2014
There are already two good reviews here and they are the reason why I watched this film. I think this is storytelling at it's best and an artistic reflection on the web that is life, love, death and haunting despair. Watch it and it will haunt you.
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Spider Forest [DVD] [2004] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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