Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp 고死 두번째 이야기 : 교생실습
2010, colour, 2.35:1, 82 mins
Directed by Yoo Sun-dong (유선동 | 劉先東)
By Derek Elley
Wed, 28 July 2010, 20:05 PM (HKT)
Dark, fast-moving gore feast, with less emphasis on puzzle countdowns but a richer plot than its predecessor. Asian and genre festivals, plus some theatrical potential and strong ancillary.
South Korea, the present day. High-school pupil Jeong Tae-yeon (Yun Seung-a), a promising swimmer, is found dead in the pool, apparently from suicide. Two years later nervous student teacher Park Eun-su (Hwang Jeong-eum) joins the school, where Tae-yeon's quiet, studious step-sister Lee Se-hui (Park Ji-yeon) is still troubled by nightmarish visions, as well as always being picked on by class bitch Eom Ji-yun (Choi A-jin). The young Eun-su has difficulty imposing her authority on the class, but is backed up by an older teacher, Cha (Kim Su-ro). Se-hui and her classmates are selected for an elite "study camp" held at the school during the summer break in which the 30 top students cram for their university entrance exam. The school's swimming trainer is soon murdered in the showers, and the words "When an innocent mother is killed, what son would not avenge her death?" found scrawled on a blackboard. A voice warns the students - some of whom are convinced Tae-yeon's ghost is responsible - that they'll all be killed unless they can answer who is the murderer and why. After they find they're locked in, along with teachers Cha and Eun-su, more deaths follow.
Largely set during one horrid night in a darkened high school building, Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp 고死 두번째 이야기 : 교생실습 (2010) will keep non-Korean audiences more than busy just sorting out who's who among the young cast as the names come thick and fast, the faces are in murky shadows, and the script (by a new team, as the story is unrelated to the 2008 original) stirs in flashbacks with abandon. Not that much of this matters, as the characters are still just splatter fodder for a crazed killer — though second-time director YOO Sun-dong 유선동 | 劉先東, who co-wrote the enjoyable urban martial arts fantasy Arahan: Urban Martial Arts Action 아라한 (2004) and debuted with comedy Mr Housewife 미스터 주부퀴즈왕 (2005)), does ring some significant changes on the first film.
No South Korean high-school movie can do without peer bullying, but apart from that Yoo plays down the competitive, ranking pressures between the students and virtually ditches one of the original's key elements (students having to solve a puzzle to save the next victim). Instead, he provides a visceral horror ride in the dark that's heavy on close-up camerawork and restless cutting, and with a plot that has much more substance (if hardly more believable) than the first movie. Even though the villain is revealed at the hour mark, the remaining 20 minutes of the admirably tight running time still pack in enough twists and revelations — with a nicely distasteful reason for the murders — to carry the movie through to the end.
As the only veteran in the main cast, KIM Su-ro 김수로 adds some ballast to the first half as the male head teacher, and HWANG Jeong-eum 황정음, in her first horror outing, develops nicely as the initially nervous student teacher. In her first big-screen role, teenage girl-bander Ji-yeon 지연 brings surprising substance to her role as the studious step-sister of the opening corpse, and she's backed up by meaty playing from CHOI A-jin 최아진 as the class bitch. TV drama idol YUN Shi-yun 윤시윤 is just OK, and a tad too pretty, as the boy who likes Park's conflicted heroine.
ContactSales: M-Line Distribution, Seoul (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Premiere: Pucheon Fantastic Film Festival (closing film), 23 Jul 2010. Theatrical release: South Korea, 28 Jul 2010.
Presented by Next Entertainment World (SK), Core Contents Media (SK), in association with Magilink, Why N Communication. Produced by Core Contents Media (SK). Executive producers: David Seo, Kim Gwang-su. Producer: Kim Gwang-su.
Script: Park Hye-min, Lee Jeong-hwa, Lee Gong-ju. Adaptation: Yoo Sun-dong. Photography: Choi Yeong-taek. Editing: Choi Min-yeong, Lee Jin. Music: Kim Woo-geun. Art direction: Lee Shi-hun. Costumes: Lee Jin-suk. Sound: Lee Eun-ju, Seong Yun-yong, Lee In-gyu. Action: Gang Pung. Special effects: Hong Jang-pyo, Yun Dae-won. Visual effects: Jang Seong-ho, Park Yeong-su, Jang Won-ik.
Cast: Kim Su-ro (teacher Cha), Hwang Jeong-eum (Park Eun-su), Yun Shi-yun (Yun Gwan-woo), Park Ji-yeon (Lee Se-hui), Park Eun-bin (Na-rae), Ji Chang-uk (Su-il), Yun Seung-a (Jeong Tae-yeon), Son Ho-jun (Park Jeong-beom), Choi A-jin (Eom Ji-yun), Nam Bo-ra (Hyeon-a), Yeo Min-ju (Yong-ran), Gweon Hyeon-sang ("JK", Kim Jang-guk), Park Jin-su (Geun-shik), Lee Dong-hui (Won-ho), Kim Min-yeong (Min-jeong), Kim Bo-mi (Gyeong-hui), Gang Seong-yong (Jong-woo), Jeong Ji-a (swimming trainer), Lee Yong-nyeo (Eun-su's mother), Shim Woon-bo (Se-hui's father), Gang Ju-hui (Tae-yeon's mother), Lee Sang-hyeok (policeman), Kim Byeong-ok (teacher Gang), Kim Su-jin (chemistry teacher), Choi Min-seon, Hwang Byeong-hyeon (teaching inspectors), Kim Jin-hwang (lunatic).