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BLACK HOUSE: UNRATED
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Reviewed by: Ryan Doom

Directed by: Shin Terra

Starring:
Hwang Jung-Min
Yu San
Kang Shin-Il

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
An insurance evaluator questions the death of a young boy and becomes entangled in a web of hell he didnít expect once he goes to the house of death.
Is it good movie?
South Koreaís Black House is an effective, extremely bloody murder mystery that thankfully avoids the seemingly standard ghost or demented evil kid storyline that appears to dominate nearly every Asian horror film. Luckily, this thriller comes in the vein of Double Indemnity and Seven with Hitchcock overtones, except of course, itís much more brutal than those classics. What I truly enjoyed came from the lead character, Jeon Juno, whoís mild mannered insurance evaluator who just canít seem to keep his mouth shut when things seem wrong. See, Juno is a tormented dude, believing he caused the death of his younger brother years ago. So anytime he seems someone mistreating life, he speaks his mind, questioning why they choose to do what they do. Where things go to hell for Juno comes from not believing in the suicide of a child. He believes the father, who comes to collect, had killed him for a massive payout. However, Juno isnít about to pay quickly as he starts to dig, understanding whom heís up against. He cannot allow another child to die. What makes him interesting comes from him being a timid protagonist, a damaged geek if you will. He reminds a little of Michael Douglas in Falling Down, though Juno never cracks, nor arms himself with machine guns, nor battles Nazis. I constantly expected him to snap, but he just takes punishment from his clients, creating sympathy even though heís a wimp.

Besides Juno, two other elements stand out. 1) The atmosphere implies an unspoken eeriness that radiates throughout. Juno has two worlds, his bland office and the outside world. When Juno steps beyond the work environment, everything seems dark, moody. Itís cold. Itís rainy. The place looks downright miserable. 2) The gore. Black House is a mean, blood soaked movie. A punishing experience. A guy has his hands lobbed off. Another is run over by a train. One scene looks drenched in blood, leaving Juno gagging and sliding the stuff. If any movie succeeded in me not wanting to be there, this managed that feat. While it does go over the top with the finale, it's the sort of thing one just shrugs and goes with it.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen presentation.

Audio: Put on your reading glasses for 5.1 Korean.
The Extras
Truth about Psychopaths: Making of Black House: 20 minutes of behind the scenes glances and interviews. Standard stuff, but interesting nonetheless.

Secret of Black House: Production Design: A seven minute look and discussion about the art of design and style.

Deleted Scenes: A full 20 minutes worth of cut sequences in a rough, raw format. A lot comes from the beginning of the film, showing Juno on his first day on the job.
Last Call
Black House has balls and blood, something most American films could learn a thing or two from in surprising viewers and disgusting them with the gore. Watch Black House. Itís good.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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