Directed by Sang-hoon Ahn
Distributed by Tartan Films
You ever get that feeling of déjà vu? Like you’re Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, experiencing the same things over and over again?
That’s the feeling you get from Arang, another generic entry in South Korea’s never-ending quest to ape the long-dead J-horror trend. The disc jacket reads “The Grudge meets CSI” which is a pretty fair description (i.e. there’s nothing here that hasn’t been done before). How sad is it when you can come to a conclusion just by looking at the box art?
Stop me if you’ve heard this one…
A long-haired ghost is on the loose, killing every poor soul in its path. An emotionally troubled female (usually a cop or a journalist) stumbles upon the curse and makes it her mission to solve the mystery, while friends, colleagues, and random school girls fall victim to the dreaded spook. This can, of course, all be traced back to an event in a character’s dark past, which comes flooding back in third-act flashbacks. And, yes, all will be revealed in a “shocking” twist ending, which culminates in an image of the ghost staring into the camera… at YOU, the viewer! *GASP*
There’s little I can say about Arang. It’s yet another lavishly-produced but utterly generic film that instantly drifts from memory and into that unconscious wasteland of mediocre Ring cash-ins. This is a movie that was made for one reason and one reason only: To make oodles of money off Hollywood remake rights. Sadly, this is the kind of mentality that drives foreign studios these days. All they have to do is imitate a successful genre, make bank at the box office, and sit back as the international dollars flow in. Nothing risked, everything gained. Commerce once again triumphs over art, and somewhere a horror fan takes another one for the team.
Tartan Films continues its trend of importing extras, with several subtitled featurettes, a commentary, and deleted scenes which are more than enough to please fans. It’s a shame better films don’t get these kind of treatments, but then again, Arang isn’t a film. It’s a product. And it won’t be long before we see another one just like it. Déjà vu, my friends. Déjà vu…
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
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