Friday, February 8, 2013

The Red Shoes

As noted in Asia Shock, J-horror and K-horror are film genres wherein just about anything can be haunted; video cassettes, cell phones, computers, you name it. In this Korean film from 2005, guess what? It's a pair of shoes. But make no mistake, this ain't your grampa's The Red Shoes, the boring 1948 Powell/Pressburger flick about a ballerina (although the film does involve ballet -- a thematic nod). In fact, the shoes aren't even red, they're pink. They're plenty wicked, though. Rip your feet right off, they will, as well as possess you with the spirits of killers and eventually drive you insane. Pump it up!

As usual, there's a decades-old backstory that's gradually revealed over 100 minutes or so, in this case dating back to the bad old days of Japanese occupation. The main character is a single mom who may or may not have done away with her asshole husband. She lives alone with her tiny daughter in a dingy apartment across the street from a haunted subway station (where she finds the shoes and thus embarks on her harrowing journey). It's a fairly outlandish premise that nevertheless works. I had my doubts at first; things were moving pretty slowly and once or twice I considered bailing. However something about the film held me, and I found myself gradually sucked in (although the pacing is a little uneven throughout).

I would really only recommend this film to folks who are really into Asian horror. It might be a bit too bleak and/or slow for your average film goer. Still, worth a look I think.

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