Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Cat (Goyangyi: Jookeumeul Boneun Doo Gaeui Noon / 고양이 : 죽음을 보는 두 개의 눈)

Hello Kitty

With a bland title like The Cat (with a Korean subtitle as funky as "Two Eyes See Death" according to Google Translate), it just about signals how blase horror films can be these days especially when they dip into the generic bag of scary tricks to assemble a horror feature film by stringing together a series of cheap jump scares, and then finding an excuse to weave a narrative around the usual mystery cum unfinished business cum body to be found and exorcised type of storyline.

Granted the premise and set up is something begging to be done, and done it is with this Korean film, otherwise we can make a film called The Dog and have the dog howl at every suspenseful instance to signal some supernatural presence, which doesn't really work that well. Cats usually have this connotation to witchcraft and its eyes being quite creepy to look at especially in some form of darkness, so in the animal itself you have a ready made plot device in which to weave a narrative around. Here the chief pussycat called Silky belongs to a plump woman who was found dead in the lift to her apartment, and for reasons only cat lovers can identify with, So-Yeon (Park Min-Young to wide-eyed perfection) who worked on and groomed the animal before its owner's demise, got stuck with the feline.

As if one warning isn't enough, expect to see a whole slew of bodies turning up, usually accompanied by the shadowy appearance of a little girl, played by Kim Ye-Ron, whose sister Kim Sae-Ron had in recent years become a child acting force to be reckoned with in films like A Brand New Life and The Man From Nowhere. I'd wonder what made her sister take this path early in her career being decked out in face paint and acting all creepy, but herein lies the expected back story as to why and how this little girl and her cat, are out there trying to spook and become avenging angels against all cat abusers, which in a way seemed noble enough a reason to do what they did.

Ultimately writer-director Byun Seung-Wook does little except to showcase that he's as capable as other directors before him who have executed the usual suspense build up, and the typical jump scares to make audiences squeal, complete with sudden loud noises, light and shadow play, and tapping upon the expertise of makeup artists who applied the feline face of death look which is inspiration for anyone wondering just how to dress up during this year's Halloween. And to make matters worse, without the numerical advantage in getting characters bumped off, or have random bodies appear just to spook, The Cat would betray that it's actually all of a short film only, being extrapolated just because of its repetitive scare tactics to introduce another dead body under extraordinary circumstances.

The Cat will thrill anyone who hasn't seen his or her fair share of Asian horror films, otherwise to horror fanatics, this is yet another film exercise for the filmmaker to chalk up a genre film under his belt. This is one weak pussy after all.

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