June 19, 2008

The Quiet Family: Shhh! No Laughing Allowed

Bad dramas make me angry. Bad comedies leave me bored. In keeping with that, Kim Ji-woon's flat farce about a family who falls into the habit of killing guests at the inn they've recently bought didn't irritate me with its implausibility. It left me comatose. Not many comedies elicit no laughs, no titters, no smirks, no half smiles, no slightly internal feelings of amusement without any outward expressions at all, so I suppose The Quiet Family is something of an acchievement in how purely it fails. When's the last time you saw a film in which every comic set up fell short of the mark. From the initial suicide of the first customer to the mass burning of dead bodies in the warehouse out back, the crimes get more and more extreme without ever feeling outrageous. You feel the actors playing the macabre scenario for all its worth; you also feel Kim's script has nothing amusing to say. Maybe this isn't a comedy. Maybe this is a murder mystery and the part of the detective has been pretty much left on the editing room floor. Or maybe this is a horror movie in which the ghost is invisible and it's our job to insert his spooky presence. It certainly feels like work watching it.


  1. Well yeah, I guess there IS something to be said about such across the board failure. Consistency is rare! Still, I now know to avoid this one from the "Bleak Korean Quasi-Comedy" shelf...

  2. It should be noted that Takashi Miike used this as the basis for his delirious Zombie Musical Comedy, "The Happiness of the Katamuris".