December 23, 2012

The Cat: Creatues With Nine Lives Battle Humans With One

Here pussy, pussy. Here pussy, pussy. We may never agree on which house pet is smarter, the dog or the cat, but one thing we probably can all agree on is that cat owners more consistently cater to the needs and wants of their four-legged friends. Think how rare it is to hear a dog owner say, "I give him wet food because he just won't eat dry." Or how much stranger it would be to hear of a tabby that's been regularly beaten, trained to kill, and can only be controlled with an electronic collar. There may be lapdogs treated like princesses but even so, they're part of a broader spectrum in terms of care. Which is what makes a movie in which cats figure as enactors of revenge for man's mistreatment of animals so damned creepy. Dogs have every right to bear a grudge but cats... When did we ever do anything but treat them like royalty!

In writer-director Byeon Seung-wook's fright flick The Cat, pet groomer So-yeon (Park Min-young) is what you might call a quiet animal rights activist. She doesn't carry a poster or bullhorn but she will softly correct a woman for coloring a cat's fur pink or chastise her best friend Bo-hee (Sin Da-eun) for adopting Dimwit, a stray chinchilla, simply to improve pet grooming skills. That So-yeon doesn't own a cat herself seems strange but when her high school crush Jun-seok (Kim Dong-wook) who's now a cop asks her to take care of one white Persian named Silky, she doesn't hesitate to bring the feline to the pet store where she works and then eventually home. Neither place turns out to be a good idea because this cat likes the taste of blood, and not just the type that comes trickling out of an accidentally cut finger. This cat is out for the blood of anyone who's mistreated cats, and she's not alone. Soon other cats are making appearances, gathering in cat gangs, and at one point, attacking one particular jerk as a group. (Yes, it does look a bit silly.)

No cats were harmed in the making of The Cat and that's as it should be. If they were, spooky little ghost girl Hee-jin (Kim Ye-ron) would certainly exact vengeance on their behalf. Given her cat eyes and cat claws, she's practically a member of their species even as she's got her own grievances to settle. Finding out what they are is the only way that So-yeon can stop these crazy cats from making mincemeat of humanity. And while she's at it, So-yeon's going to tackle her crippling claustrophobia, too!

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