My title doesn't quite trip off the tongue, but one thing about fairy tales is that they can be set and adapted to anywhere in the world, the characters being wholly universal.
Premiered on Film 4 tonight, as part of a 'Fright-Fest' double bill, this eerie movie starts out like all Hollywood 'horror' flicks - you know, dark slippery road at night, middle of an impenetrable forest, driver uses his mobile - almost enough to put folk like me off, but maybe clever as it entices the new cinema-going market as they feel smugly content with what they're watching - until:
Yes - a fairytale house in a clearing, with cute kids and cuter parents and lovely toys and dreamy food...again, drawing us in but generating a sense of unrest and unease, as we know this is labelled as a 'horror' movie and ultimately, things have to get sinister and bad at some point. These they indeed do, but it takes time, maybe too long but, for once, there's a real story that's far more than some lazy adaptation. I'm not really au fait with the original Grimm story, but this extends and takes it to another dimension, without the sense of feeling that it's gone too far. It is ultimately the story that generates the most chills - how often can you say that, these days?
The art direction is the trump card here, along with the acting of the three main children. The associated cinematography and music assist greatly, bringing it all up to a standard that's amongst the best from modern Korea. There is quite a lot of violence, but only where the story requires it and some shocks to keep the blood pumping. It probably won't provide enough instantly gratifying gore and gruesome details for Friday night party types to Twitter about but for those wanting a more meaty fare, this has a lot going on.