Black House (검은집) Made in: South Korea Language: Korean Director: Shin Tae-Ra Starring: Hwang Jung-Min, Shin Il-Kang, Yu-Sun, Kim Su-Hyung Year: 2007
Synopsis: Jun-Oh (Hwang Jung-Min), a nerdy insurance agent, gets himself caught up with a bizarre serial killer. He suspects one of his clients, a creepy guy named Kim Bae-Chung (Shin Il-Kang), of being a murderous psychopath. It appears as though Kim has killed his own son, declared it a suicide, and is attempting to collect on a $30 million insurance claim.
When Jun-Oh discovers that Kim would get $300 million if his wife Yi-Hwa (Yu-Sun) were to die, the insurance agent believes he knows who the next victim will be. Springing into action to play good samaritan, Jun-Oh soon learns that he is indeed being played...but not in the way that he thinks.
The Good: Adapted from the Japanese story of the same name, Black House is a straightforward thriller/mystery. I won't give it away, but this movie does have a very clever twist.
Well-acted, intense, and intelligent, it offers some pretty solid psychological scares. It moves at a relatively slow, methodical pace, and the meek Jun-Oh makes for an interesting choice for a hero in such a dark story.
The Bad: Although it's not ridiculously gory, Shin Tae-Ra's film does contain some moments that seem to have been inspired by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence of the Lambs, and subsequent movies featuring torture rooms, dismemberment, blah blah blah.
The climactic showdown gets a little too drawn out, and comes off as more than a little ridiculous at the very end. The bloodiness during the final act didn't seem that necessary, and the film could have been just as strong without it.
Who would like this movie: Fans of foreign films and psychological horror movies would appreciate this one. And if you ever wondered what a Korean version of George McFly would do if faced with a psychopath, Black House definitely answers that question.