The Haunted House Project 폐가: 귀신들린 집
2010, colour, 16:9, 83 mins
Directed by Lee Cheol-ha (이철하 | 李澈河)
By Derek Elley
Mon, 15 November 2010, 15:58 PM (HKT)
Lame, very post-Blair Witch docu-horror, with few shocks and a feeble script. Genre festivals.
June 2010, Gyeonggi Province, Seoul. A documentary team composed of producer Lee Yeong-ju (Lee Hwa-jeong), cameraman Choi Gyu-seok (Hyeon Tae-ho) and sound recordist Jeong Ji-yeong (Shin So-yul) are preparing a film about a ghost-hunting club called "The Haunted House Explorers", three of whose members are about to spend a night in a famous haunted house in a small town. While scouting the location beforehand, Gyu-seok thinks he sees something. On the day of shooting, the three club members - Im Wan-su (Shin Gyeong-seon), Won Mi-jin (Yun Yi-na) and Choi U-ram (Jeon In-geol) - are interviewed on camera by the producer and then driven to the site. The complex of now dilapidated buildings was built by a businessman, Mr. Kim, as a biscuit factory, with a family house, storage building and employees' dormitory. One day, 10 years ago, Kim and his whole family were found dead: locals attributed it to the vengeful ghost of Kim's mistress, whom Kim's wife was thought to have murdered. The female ghost is now believed to live in a small pool of water on the site. After investigating the site, the trio settles down to spend a night in the family house, but soon finds itself under attack.
A decade after The Blair Witch Project, South Korea gets its first zero-budget, horror mock-doc, but it's all too little, too late. Director LEE Cheol-ha 이철하 | 李澈河, who made the good-looking but empty drama Love Me Not 사랑따윈 필요없어 (2006), and more surprisingly KIM Eun-gyeong 김은경, who co-wrote Death Bell 고死 : 피의 중간고사 (2008) as well as directing the okay high-school psycho-thriller Roommates Ｄ−ＤＡＹ (2006), don't seem to have any ideas apart from second-hand ones. The film is meant to be an edited version of damaged material found at the scene after some ghost-hunters and a documentary crew disappeared, and it basically boils down to an hour of so of endless handheld shots of dilapidated buildings capped by some frenetic action near the end.
The first half-hour of The Haunted House Project 폐가: 귀신들린 집 (2010) promises much more: a somewhat disorganised film team, led by a bossy producer; a team of ghost-hunters who treat the whole thing like a high-school project; growing strife between the two teams, with the latter becoming tired of being manipulated for the camera; and a horrific back story of an unexplained family massacre in a house. But in her script Kim seems to have no idea how to develop these elements or the characters, and visually director Lee brings nothing new to the table, with only a couple of genuine surprises in the whole movie. The young cast of semi-knowns is serviceable within the film's limits. To enhance the sense of budget "realism", Lee used the new DSLR Canon 5D Mark II camera, which is also capable of full HD. The resulting look is fine, but some content would have been nice.
ContactSales: Showbox/Mediaplex, Seoul (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Theatrical release: South Korea, 19 Aug 2010.
Presented by Cinergy House (SK). Produced by HY Films (SK). Executive producer: William Kim. Producer: Lee Ha-yeong.
Script: Kim Eun-gyeong. Photography: Kim Min. Editing: Mun In-dae. Music: Choi Yong-rak. Art direction: Lee Bong-hwan. Costumes: Gwak Jeong-ae. Sound: Park Jong-geun, Lee Gang-deuk. Visual effects: Han Tae-jeong, Seo Hyeon-shik, Kim Dae-jun (Ein's M&M). Special effects: Hong Jang-pyo.
Cast: Shin Gyeong-seon (Im Wan-su, "Ghost Hunter"), Yun I-na (Won Mi-jin, "Black Widow"), Jeon In-geol (Choi U-ram, "Horror Master"), Hyeon Tae-ho (Choi Gyu-seok, the cameraman), Lee Hwa-jeong (Lee Yeong-ju, the producer), Shin So-yul (Jeong Ji-yeong, the sound recordist), Lee Sang-hui (old lady), Na Sang-ok, Kim Se-seung (middle-aged men), Lee Geum-ja, Kim Un-ja (middle-aged women), An Cheol-rae (old lady), Lee Won-jun (man), Park Jang-min (neighbourhood youth), Gweon Nam-hui (supermarket lady), Park Jin-won (broadcaster), Park Jong-bae (farm worker), Lee Yu-na (girl high-school student), Jeong Yeon-mi (neighbourhood woman), Gwon Hyeok-gyu (old person), Gang Tae-shik (camper).