Guest review by Tim Hoar, creator of Now Now, I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie.
4 out of 5 – An excellent, creepy and chilling serial killer flick that slowly evolves from thriller to detective story. Not for the faint of heart, The Chaser is extremely clever, managing to be both action packed and cerebral with two awesome performances taking you on the ride. A ride that ends in a conclusion that will absolutely shred your nerves.
An excellent, creepy and chilling serial killer flick that slowly evolves from thriller to detective story.
This is a first time effort from director Na Hong Jin. A thriller that is made all the more chilling as it is based on the real life case of South Korean serial killer Yoo Young-chul. Word on the street is that the folk responsible for The Departed (remake of the Hong Kong flick Infernal Affairs) are remaking The Chaser.
What’s it About?
A pimp grows increasingly frustrated when his girls continue to leave him. Eventually he works out that someone is killing them, rather than buying them. Realising that he has just sent his last girl off to the killer, it is a race against time to find her before it is too late. Oh, it helps a little that our pimp is a former cop too.
Is it any Good?
At times, The Chaser is a very difficult watch, with its misogynist villain and hammer and chisel based murder scenes. But try not to be put off, because if you persevere you will be treated to a highly original mix of thriller and police procedural.
The film is anchored by two exceptional performances. Ha Jung-woo is excellent as Je Yeong-min the killer, but it is Kim Yoon-seok as pimp detective Eom Joong-ho who is the star. He manages to convince in all situations, with a believable world weariness about him that he channels into weakness, anger and much more. I think that if a lesser actor was in this role, the film would not have been half as good as it is. A former detective turned pimp is a wonderful basis for a character and he ensures that base does not go to waste. The film is definitely at its most effective when he is onscreen, which thankfully is quite a lot.
The film is kinetically filmed, but not in an over the top way that David Stratton would hate. Tension and creepiness are botg ramped up beautifully. The killer’s latest intended victim sees the bloody hair of one of her predecessors and knows the fate that may await her. The narrative is a refreshing change from Hollywood predictability too with the killer being captured quite early and openly admitting his crimes to the fuzz. It is not really a spoiler to say that, because The Chaser wonderfully leaves you hanging, without really knowing where this wonderful film is taking you next.