Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bloody Reunion

If you know me, you know I have a weakness for violent Korean films, even when they're not very well executed. Bloody Reunion is a fairly decent shocker, but it suffers from an attempt at a twist ending that is more a WTF? ending that makes absolutely no sense. So instead of letting that ruin the fun, I'll just pretend the movie ends a bit before the lame mind-fuckery bit and discuss the rest of it.

Seems a rural teacher running a one-room school out of her seaside home gave birth to a boy with facial deformities so hideous her husband hanged himself. She raised the little tyke in the basement (that's him above in the bunny mask), her students taking time out periodically to taunt him. It's twenty years later and a bunch of the now-all-grown-up students decide to visit their old teacher. See where this is going? That's right, you got it: Homicidal maniac in a bunny mask picking off the guests one by one. But is it the son, or another member of the group?

What makes this otherwise routine exercise more interesting is the gradual reveal that ol' Mrs. Park wasn't the caring, loving teacher her former students have come to celebrate (with liberal amounts of soju, beer and raspberry home brew). No, she was actually a nasty piece of work, humiliating, crippling, even molesting her little charges all those years ago. The tension of these revelations intermingles with the slasher plot to create an interesting new hybrid of suspense.

But remember: You gotta really be into dark Korean cinema to enjoy this one. Don't say I didn't warn you.


NativeBbYGrL said...

I've watched this movie twice and I still don't get it... I mean, i get she was a horrible teacher and they all hold resentment... but the end confused the F*** outta me D:

Jane Friday said...

I absolutely agree that it was a good horror flick, that suffered from a twist that just didn't quite make the leap. I really wanted this twist to work (once I caught on to what it was) but unfortunately, it lacked a cohesive feeling or a completely comprehensive telling. Still, I gotta say that I would recommend this to horror lovers as a not so mundane or emotionally vapid slasher film.

silentstarz said...


The ending was showing that everything, from her old students' resentments of her, to how each one of them were killed, was all a fabrication by the one former student, Mi-ja. She assumed the fake name Mi-ja, when her real name was actually Jung-won. The Jung-won she made up while retelling the story to the cop of what happened was also a figment of her imagination. She made up the male Jung-won so she could pin the murders on someone else and throw the cops off of the real killer--herself.

The ending shows the students that came to see their teacher every year for the reunion were actually successful, happy adults. Only Jung-won bore the brute of humiliation and embarrassment at the teacher's hands as a child, and she never forgot it, so she enacted revenge on all the students and the teacher too. For example, Soo-hee was supposedly teased for being too fat as a child by the teacher, but this memory is actually Jung-won's, as is the rest of the memories she forged for the other students; each of them harboring a resentment that she herself suffered through.

It can get confusing only because Jung-won retells the story--according to her--of how the murders took place with the rabbit masked killer and stuff. But the ending reveals Jung-won poisoned them at the reunion lunch table, and then proceeded to stab each one of them to death as they choked. She got her revenge, and even eluded the police for some time. Enough time to go to the pier and kill herself while leaving the teacher alive. The last shot in the film of the empty wheelchair hints at the fact the teacher was so traumatized that she, too, killed herself.

silentstarz said...

The ending basically shows that most of the film's bloody murders, as well as each student's individual resentment of their teacher, was all a fabrication on the part of the former student, Mi-ja. Mi-ja was a false name she used to disguise her real name, Jung-won. Even the male Jung-won was a fake she created when retelling her story to the police officer so she could buy herself more time to elude the police's suspicions.

Remember that almost from the very beginning of the film the story is flashbacked and shown because Mi-ja is talking to the police officer of how everything happened. It was all in her point of view, but it was her false version.

The ending reveals that the students that came to visit the teacher every year for the class reunion were actually quite happy and successful adults. The only former student of the teacher's who was unhappy was "Mi-ja", or her real name, Jung-won. Each resentment and hatred that was shown each student to have towards the teacher was actually Mi-ja's own resentment and memories. For example, Soo-hee was supposedly teased by the teacher for being fat and overweight, but it was actually Jung-won who suffered. Same with the other students' hatred for the teacher, which Jung-won made up when all of it was her own hatred.

So what actually happened was that when the former students came for the yearly student reunion with their teacher, Mi-ja poisoned them at the lunch table and then stabbed everyone to death. Later, after the police left the hospital, she took the teacher with her to the pier. This was her ultimate scheme in revenge, and she killed herself while letting the teacher live to mentally torture the woman. The last shot in the film of the empty wheelchair hints at the fact the teacher also threw herself off the pier because she couldn't take the torture.

Patrick Galloway said...

Spoiler alert! Oops, too late.

Spartan Muslimah said...

Phewww finally made sense! But what happened to the deformed son??? 0.0