Viewed – 20 Feb 2009 DVD
There is a surge in the popularity of far eastern thrillers and horrors lately that has spawned several mainstream remakes, such as Scorsese’s The Departed adapted from Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, Naomi Watts horror The Ring (& Ring 2) from Japanese chiller Ringu, and now we have the same promise of a stateside remake with this acclaimed serial killer thriller.
Now this plays out a little different from what I was expecting. There’s no who done it and a series of grizzly murder sights, as we discover who the killer is within the first fifteen minutes. The focus here is on the detective-turned-pimp desperate to discover the fate of ‘one of his girls’ after the killer confesses to several murders. The cops need proof in order to arrest him, and its a battle against time to find evidence before they must release him. This is a very well filmed and stylish movie and is suitably gruesome as can be expected from Far Eastern fair with the killings leaving little to the imagination. The plight of one victim struggling to escape her captor is edge of the seat and chilling, and the movie avoids clichés to keep you guessing. My only gripe is that apart from the detective / pimp the other characters such as the cops are portrayed as bumbling idiots and there’s a slight comical atmosphere that feels out of place in such a gritty, violent storyline … and the film also gets too caught up in the trying to find where the killer lives and the one possible surviving victim that it borders on tiresome.
If you like your film watching with a bit of an edge, lots of blood and a fair amount of style – this is worth a watch, just don’t expect anything you’ll be recommending to your friends over other, superior world cinema offerings.
Verdict: 3 /5