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DVD Review: HORROR STORIES



Studio: Artsploitation Films
Year: 2012
Cast: Kim Ji-won, Tae Woo Kim, Bo Ra Nam, Mi Ran Ra, Yoo Yeon-seok
Director: Ji Yeong Hong, Bum Shik Jung, Gok Kim, Sun Kim, Dae Wung Lim, Kyu Dong Min
Release Date: October 08, 2013
Rating: Not Rated for (violence, adult themes)
Run Time: 01h:49m:12s
Genre(s): foreign

“I’ll never call the police. Just let me go, please.” - Ji-won (Kim Ji-won)

HORROR STORIES

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The recent resurgence of horror anthologies is a glorious thing. South Korea is diving into this pool also, and I'd be shocked if this wasn't a fun, scary flick.

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Grade: B

Two of the biggest horror subgenres of the last 10 years or so involve the Asian horror craze that gave us the likes of The Ring and The Grudge, and, enjoying a more recent resurgence in popularity, the anthology film. Now, we get a film that marries both of these subgenres in the 2012 South Korean horror film, Horror Stories. I’m usually extremely “in the know” when it comes to anything and everything horror-related, but Horror Stories totally flew under my radar until Artsploitation Films’ DVD release arrived at my door. While not even remotely as entertaining as the recent anthologies V/H/S and V/H/S/2, Horror Stories is still a solid entry in a subgenre that hopefully continues its resurgence for many years to come.

As with many an anthology series, the individual stories in Horror Stories are uneven, to say the least, with only a couple of them being truly interesting, and, most importantly, scary. The movie kicks off with its wrap-around story involving a young lady named Ji-won (Kim Ji-won) who is being held captive by a man (Yoo Yeon-seok), who demands that she keep him entertained with scary stories or he’ll kill her. Having no choice, she begins telling tales like Don’t Answer the Door, which involves a young girl and her little brother who are left home alone and tormented by a scary man who at first seems to be a delivery man, but turns out to be out for blood.

The next story, Endless Flight is easily the most simple, straight-forward of the bunch. It tells the tale of a serial killer who’s being transported by a police escort on a nearly-deserted flight that doesn’t exactly land without some horrible grisliness occurring. In Secret Recipe, we see Horror Stories begin to hit its stride, as this twisty, stylized, and just plain crazy mini-film takes us to another level of horror that we wish would go on much longer than it does. The main plot elements involve a pair of stepsisters and a plastic surgeon whom they’re both after, but that’s about as basic as Secret Recipe can sound, as it quickly spirals down a rabbit-hole of crazy that is truly compelling from beginning to end.

Horror Stories’ final bit, Ambulance on the Death Zone, is even more gripping than Secret Recipe. It’s also at least a little less insane, as far as its style goes. The story isn’t exactly normal, however, as this slightly original take on zombies involves a hellish ride on an ambulance involving some doctors, a nurse, a mother, and her daughter who may or may not have been bit and on the verge of “turning.” A whopper of a twist ending brings Ambulance on the Death Zone to a near-perfect close before we’re taken to the overall finale of Horror Stories, which, while nowhere near as effective of either of the last two separate stories, is still a fairly fitting, satisfying ending to a surprisingly great film.

The entirety of Horror Stories is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and, despite a few minor print issues, the overall look of the film is very impressive. The audio is a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that comes to life when called upon during the more horrific, action-oriented scenes, but is generally low-key, albeit benefitted by crystal-clear dialogue throughout. The only extras here are nearly nine minutes of cast interviews and trailers for Horror Stories, Hidden in the Woods, Toad Road, Vanishing Waves, and Wither.

Posted by: Chuck Aliaga - January 9, 2014, 7:50 pm - DVD Review
Keywords: anthologies, terrifying, suspense




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