Anytime I hear the words “South Korean monster movie” you immediately have my attention. Unlike The Host and a host of other recent South Korean monster movies, Monstrum takes us back to middle ages for the creature carnage.
Directed by Heo Jong-ho and starring Kim Myung-Mim, Park Hee-soon, and Lee Geung-young; Monstrum (no relation to a video game of the same name) takes place in 1527 during the reign of King Jungjong (an actual historic figure portrayed in the film). The story chronicles a loyal warrior facing the dual threat of protecting the king from deposers looking to overthrow him and a ferocious monster that threatens to kill everyone.
I would speculate the ferocious monster aspect is not historically accurate but I’m told the movie is based on the legend of a burnt rat creature that was said to have once terrorized a town. Not up to speed on my Korean folklore so I’m just going to take their word for it.
“It’s the 22nd year of Jungjong. The plague has taken over Joseon, and fear runs rampant in the streets. When rumors of a vicious beast roaming Mount Inwangsan–called “Monstrum” by terrified masses–begin to spread, fear turns into panic. In order to quell the rising panic, Jungjong brings back his most trusted general Yoon-gyeom from retirement. Joined by his daughter Myeong, his right-hand man Seong-han, and royal court officer Heo, Yoon-gyeom sets out to find the mysterious creature.
Is the creature, Monstrum real? Or a figment of the fearful mass’ imagination? Will the people of Joseon ever live in peace again?”
The teaser trailer is in its native language but that matters little given its just 45 seconds of medieval Korean warriors grunting while a giant rat-bear-wolf creature growls like a hoarse Godzilla.
Monstrum is slated to open in South Korea September 13th. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too long for it to arrive here.