1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
both delightful and dark,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hansel And Gretel [DVD] (DVD)
Fairytales are too often dismissed as children's bedtime stories, yet at their heart most fairy stories are dark and more than a little dangerous. Guillermo Del Toro set the tone for the adult fairy story with his breathtaking Pans Labyrinth, and with Hansel and Gretel Korean cinema has firmly established itself as a serious contender in this up and coming genre.
A young man Eun Soo (Jeong-myeong Cheon) crashes his car whilst driving along a deserted stretch of highway. Awaking from the crash to find himself alone in the forest that the highway runs through, he wonders what to do when he suddenly encounters a young girl Soojeong who convinces him to accompany her back to her home in the forest, where he can rest for the night and then return to his car in the morning. Arriving at the house, Eun Soo encounters the rest of the family in the shape of Soojeongs younger sister Young Hee and her brother Jung Soon, as well as her nervous "parents". The following morning Eun Soo heads back to his car, but soon loses his way, finding himself once more back at the house in the woods. Eun Soo begins to realise that all is not well in this house, but the harder he tries to escape the more he finds himself bound to the house and its mysterious occupants.
Directed by Pil Sung Yim and written by Min-sook Kim, this is a dark and ultimately disturbing tale that starts of as anything but. Initially a modern fantasy, the film soon lays its cards on the table with various quiet reveals that show that there is something deeply wrong with both the building and the occupants of the place known as "The House of Happy Children". Jung Soon is quickly revealed as the real head of the household, and the people who the children call "mum & dad" may well be nothing of the sort. As the film progresses, the house moves from a sickly sweet place to a dark and brooding building without ever actually changing, simple tone and texture being used to great effect to bring about the transformation.
The film will unfortunately be lumped in with the current wave of Eastern horror movies, but this is anything but a simple horror movie. Dealing with a child's simple desire to be both loved and accepted, the script, set design and acting on show all combine to give us a film that starts of delightful but soon becomes dark and dangerous, especially in the films brutal and often horrific denouement. Anyone who likes their movies to be absorbing, affecting and more than a little surprising, then this is for you.