January 9, 2015

Be My Guest: This Proletariat Has a Bone to Pick

Be My Guest is atypical K-horror. For starters, it's a rude, crude slasher pic that glories in the bloodletting caused by axes, hedge-clippers, and scythes over the shivers induced by creepy succubi with veils of snarled, black hair. Clearly writer-director Park Soo-young is more enamored of American mega-franchises like Friday the 13th and Halloween than homegrown creepshows like The Evil Twin and The Ring Virus. I, for one, respect his choice. K-horror may be stylishly cool but it's not very scary.

And if you like gory shocks then there's a lot to learn from micro-budget pics like The Blair Witch Project and Night of the Living Dead, too — which I'm guessing Park has also seen — because you don't need an iconic location or name actors to scare the shit out of people out for a thrill. A good concept can take you very far and Park's concept goes the distance: A respectable businessman (Kim Byung-Chun) and his vacationing family are terrorized by a former employee (Lee Kyeong-yeong) fired some time ago despite being a hard worker. Nice start, eh? The disgruntled unemployed cuts the boss and his family up because he got cut. Hey, that works, too. The satire (and the laughs) escalate in the second half during which a sweet-natured delivery guy (Park Yeong-seo) is equally terrorized by the partially dismembered family who are now trying to frame him for a murder.

None of the actors are giving award-winning performances. None of the scenes are shot artistically. None of the lines in the script are memorable. (Parts of everything are god-awful!) None of that matters. Be My Guest is a lowbrow lark, a shameless bit of gratuitous gristle that turns your stomach even as it's giving you something to chew on. In South Korea, this kind of fright flick is rare, and by rare I mean you can see the blood. If Park ever makes a sequel, I'd definitely help myself to a second helping. I might even invite a guest over!

Random addendum: I really do regret having ever seen The Butcher.

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