Encapsulated Cinema: Ghastly, Head, and Midnight FM



Ghastly (2011)
There aren’t too many movies out there that feature a small children stabbing their classmates in the neck with number two pencils. As you can probably imagine, there’s a very good reason for that. Director Yang Yun-Ho’s disturbing little horror flick “Ghastly” breaks a number of interesting taboos, and, truthfully, it’s the only remarkable thing about the flick. Outside of a few gasp-inducing moments that are ultimately too few and far between, “Ghastly” is nothing more than your standard, run-of-the-mill, “oh my god our child is possessed” motion picture. Lee Hyung-Suk’s turn as the demonic Bin, however, is quite unnerving, especially considering he’s only 11 years-old. Otherwise, it’s forgettable.

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Head (2011)
I really hadn’t heard too much about director Cho Un’s action/thriller “Head” until it randomly found its way onto my television screen. To my complete surprise, this darkly hilarious endeavor — a twisted little yarn centered around the world of human organ smuggling — is as suspenseful as it silly. This balancing act isn’t without its hiccups, of course, but chances are you’ll be having too much fun to notice. Fans of veteran actor Baek Yoon-sik will get a kick out of his portrayal of the villainous Baek Jeong, a nasty little bastard who will stop at nothing to retrieve a severed head. If the fight scene inside the nursing home doesn’t make you smile, then there’s something wrong with you.

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Midnight FM (2010)
During her last shift as a late-night radio host, troubled journalist Sun-Young discovers that a psychotic fan has kidnapped her daughter. His only demand: Replay key songs from Sun-Young’s career as a DJ, a request that proves harder to fulfill than one might imagine. Although the premise sounds highly illogical, Kim Sang-man’s “Midnight FM” is actually quite thrilling, especially for a movie that requires a very strong suspension of disbelief. Soo-ae and Yoo Ji-tae are fantastic, and effortlessly con you into believing this sort of nonsense could actually transpire. Still, the music references are fun, and the tension remains solid throughout. A fantastic South Korean thriller from top to bottom.