Horror movie tropes are so simple that they generally tend to work better the less you think about them- or conversely, when you think about them so much that every generic slasher becomes some sort of weird metaphor for transgenderism. Thankfully writer / director Oh In-chun goes the former direction with the spooky atmosphere in "12 Deep Red Nights: Chapter 1". See, there's four different stories. And scary stuff happens in each one.
Nothing all that scary, though. There's not really enough in the budget. So instead we're left with fairly simple, transparent shocks. First, a woman comes up with a rather curious proposal in a closed environment. Next, another woman tries to evade a rather curious proposal in a closed environment. Then a man tries to pry secrets from places they should not be plied, and then a woman tries to keep secrets when it's obvious that her opponent isn't fooled by cute good looks.
See what I mean? The basic principles behind the four films that make up the first deep red nights are so simple, that if I were to tell you any more than that I'd spoil the whole movie and give you no reason to see it at all. So that much should be clearly established- if you're looking for a movie that's going to blow your mind with completely innovative and interesting ideas, then "12 Deep Red Nights: Chapter 1" is not the movie you want to see.
Rather, this is a film more for those who like sitting around in the darkness. Paranoia plays a big part in all four shorts. Is the proposal for real? Are other characters privy to the secrets? It's simple stuff but it's easy enough to relate to. On the flip side the material here is so simplistic that there's not really much in the way of characterization. Hopefully you're able to identify with the emotion of fear, because none of these characters really come alive as people.
Which again, is part and parcel for the genre, and probably why the transgender metaphor trend is such a common one. "12 Deep Red Nights: Chapter 1" may not be an especially ambitious product, but it definitely understands what the horror genre is about on a basic level- weird sights, weird sounds, and mysteries that are never going to be explained because explanations are never particularly convincing. Although if you're really, really patient, maybe a couple of movies from now all of this is going to be tied together.
Even for short films the individual portions of "12 Deep Red Nights: Chapter 1" don't stick around that long, so this isn't a movie that's likely to make you too angry for wasting an evening. Heck, they're so short you might not even miss an evening- there's probably enough time left in the night to watch another feature. Or you could just watch "12 Deep Red Nights: Chapter 1" in individual portions. It really doesn't matter- this movie isn't good enough to warrant massive praise and it's not bad enough to mock. It's just sort of simply there.
This review was written by William Schwartz as a part of HanCinema's BiFan (Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival) coverage.
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "12 Deep Red Nights: Chapter 1""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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