June 22, 2008

Nightmare: Laughing at Death

You have to slog through a morass of mystification before Nightmare takes off. But the last 20 minutes are the kind of crazy, nonsensical, campy shenanigans that have kept me a horror fan in between the actually scary movies. Furthermore, you can probably fast forward to this part and not lose anything in the process. The fun starts when an incrimating videotape reveals the crime that's been the cause of all the murders which have preceded. While there's definitely a relief to learn the why behind it all, what's more entertaining is to see a killer pussycat attack the man who ends up being the villain. That guy (Yu Jun-sang) goes on to give what could be a career-defining performance: He laughs insanely, he grins demonically, he stares moronically, he strangles with videotape. Where's the acting school that teaches this extreme form of expressiveness? As he batters the two surviving ingenues—a mental institute patient (Choi Jeong-yun) and her insensitive friend (Kim Gyu-ri) who's continually cursed to be at the wrong place at the wrong time—Yu breathes new life into the expression "so bad it's good." Director-writer Ahn Byeong-ki improved with later efforts Phone and Bunshinsaba. Here is his humble beginning.

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