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aka - Choyonghan Kajok
Korea 1998
Directed by
Kim Ji-woon
95 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Quiet Family

A family movie with a difference, South Korea's Kim Ji-woon’s directorial debut is an amusing black comedy about one of the genre’s favourite subjects, murder. In this instance it concerns the luckless Kangs, father Tae-gu (Park In-hwan) and his wife (Na Mun-hee) who have moved from Seoul along with their adult children and an uncle to operate the Misty Lodge, an isolated mountain hotel.

Cleverly scripted by Kim with a snappy Western pop soundtrack that takes in The Stray Cats and The Partridge Family, the film follows the fate of the family after they initially dispose of a suicide’s body and find themselves amidst an ever-spiralling sequence of murders. The suitably po-faced cast are all wonderful as they play their engaging characters whilst the body count and hands-on mayhem mounts.

Kim directs with great flair, his tongue-in-cheek mix of physical comedy, black humour and satire for the most part sustaining attention although the  does start to wear thin in the latter stages with Kim failing to develop, as say the Coens would have done, the simple premise of accumulating corpses (but what happened to that of the young police officer who arrived at the lodge at midnight and the escapee who gets himself entangled in the woods?).

FYI: Apparently the film was remade by cult Japanese director Takashi Miike as The Happiness Of the Katakuris, no doubt with a significant increase in the gore department.

DVD Extras: The original theatrical trailer.

Available from: Madman




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