Tell Me Something

on September 12, 2001 by Wade Major
Print
   The hit Korean serial killer film “Tell Me Something” makes no secret of its lineage. Five credited screenwriters and a cliché-riddled, mega-formulaic plot suggest a certain reverence for the Hollywood way of doing things, and the result is as predictably Hollywood as could possibly be imagined. There are other influences, though, that may be less obvious to American viewers: Hong Kong and Japanese serial killer thrillers whose stylistic imprint (the meticulous, methodical use of gore and the near total lack of restraint in said usage) is also evident throughout. This is, of course, precisely the effect that co-writer/director Chang Youn-hyun appears to have been going for from the start – a movie that would fall in line with the best of the genre from throughout the region and the world, satisfying the expectations of genre fans with little regard for the sensibilities of others.

   Indeed, aficionados of serial killer movies will find all the requisite elements appropriately splattered throughout. A graphic opening in which a young man appears to have willingly submitted to his own dismemberment is followed up by an even grislier mystery. Bags of body parts begin appearing all over Seoul, but the parts form a puzzle involving multiple bodies. Legs belonging to one body with the arms of another with the head of another, and so forth. It's a very literal puzzle that detective Cho (Han Suk-gyu) desperately needs to solve to redeem himself and his tainted career in the eyes of superiors. After some investigating, only one link manifests itself: Each of the murdered men were romantically linked with a demure young woman named Su-yeon Chae (Shim Eun-ha), the daughter of a famous painter who mysteriously disappeared years earlier.

   From here the movie stomps through the obligatory swampland: “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Seven,” “Basic Instinct,” “Sisters” and the cult Japanese slasher film “Evil Dead Trap,” to name only a few. It's a thoroughly predictable and irritatingly mechanical movie that nonetheless works exceptionally well within the parameters of its genre thanks to Chang Youn-hyun's proficiency at stylistically and effectively splicing together so many disparate elements from other movies.

   Accordingly, “Tell Me Something” must be regarded as something of a success for what it is, even if “what it is” is unpleasant and formulaic. Starring Han Suk-gyu, Shim Eun-ha, Chang Hang-sun and Yum Jung-ah. Directed by Chang Youn-hyun. Written by Chang Youn-hyun, Kong Su-chang, In Eun-Ah, Shim Hae-weon and Kim Eun-jung. Produced by Koo Bon-han & Chang Youn-hyun. A Kino release. Thriller. Korean-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 116 min

Tags: Starring Han Suk-gyu, Shim Eun-ha, Chang Hang-sun and Yum Jung-ah. Directed by Chang Youn-hyun. Written by Chang Youn-hyun, Kong Su-chang, In Eun-Ah, Shim Hae-weon, Kim Eun-jung, Produced by Koo Bon-han, Chang Youn-hyun, Kino, Thriller
Print

read all Reviews »


0 Comments

No comments were posted.

What do you think?