Neil Young’s Film Lounge – Into the Mirror



Geoul sokeuro : (South) Korea 2003 : KIM Seong-Ho : 113 mins

One of the more underwhelming examples of the ongoing far-eastern horror boom, Into the Mirror makes disappointingly little use of its spooky premise and is instead chiefly notable for an effectively low-key performance by Korean superstar Yu Ji-Tae (aka Yoo Ji-Tae) of OLDBOY and Natural City fame. He plays ex-cop Woo Yeong-Min, ineffectual head of security at a glitzy shopping mall whose grand re-opening one year after a catastrophic fire is derailed by a series of grisly murders. Needless to say, this being a post-Ring oriental chiller, the culprit turns out to be a vengeful female phantom with long black hair – but her methods are decidedly original: her victims are offed by their own reflections, who reach out of mirrors to messily do them in.The exact hows and whys of all this take an inordinate amount of spelling out, and are so complicated (not to mention pretentious) that they probably only make perfect sense in a parallel universe. Writer-director Kim doesn’t seem cut out for this genre: he allows the pace to flag for too long too often, with ultimately tedious results. The protracted climax is a messy, incongruously gory affair, and even a nifty, visually striking coda isn’t enough to compensate for the preceding longueurs. Yu deserves better – and so do you.

25th October, 2004
[seen same day : UGC Boldon : public show]

by Neil Young