July 8, 2011

Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp: Stop! You're Killing Me!

I'm still trying to figure out why, after the gratuitously grisly murders commence in director Yu Seon-dong's Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp, none of the movie's summer school students tries to exit through a window once it's discovered that the doors are locked and a killer's on the loose. I'm not discounting that extreme panic can stop a person from thinking rationally, but in a classroom of gifted and talented, a classroom where one wall is basically made of glass, does it not occur to anyone — from the valedictorian on down to the class clown — to hurl a desk or a chair through the window? Does no one consider smashing a way out to freedom? Is there no one here good at multiple choice quizzes?

All that studying until midnight has clearly dulled the wits of the braniacs. And unlike the maniac in the first Death Bell movie, the sequel's mass murderer is not self-congratulatorily clever: He doesn't set up a cruel riddle for the students to unravel to save their lives. His "clues," if anything, only make them feel stupid and hopeless: "memory" stitched into a young girl's face; a series of jumbled letters spelling out "memento mori." You can almost hear these youngsters worriedly saying to themselves: Okay, I'm supposed to remember something in order to survive... but what? As hints go, these pointed shocks are hardly helpful. As much as terror has muddled the minds of its victims, resentment has stifled the killer's creativity. His evil-genius machines-of-revenge are uninspired: a motorcycle rigged with blades on its tire; an automatic nail gun aimed at a single target; a vial of lethal hallucinogenics... And while they'd never figure it out if this killer's clues were all they had to work with, what eventually comes to light is that a former classmate, now dead, was the victim of an attempted rape by a gaggle of giggling peers. How they were supposed to remember this, considering that they were neither present nor aware of its existence, is just another prime example of the unrealistic demands often made by the criminally insane. Speaking of crazy, Death Bell 2 has one of kookier outtakes on record for its final credits: multiple shots revealing the film's hero histrionically rehearsing CPR on a dummy. Get ready for Death Bell 3: Bloody Bloopers.

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