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Belittling Horror Excessively: R-Point06:05 AM -- Wed October 19, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: During the Vietnam war, a platoon of soldiers vanished in the jungle. Six months later, another group is sent out to find out what happened to them. Turns out it was something bad. Bad things re-ensue.

Scariness Type: Just a lot of ghosts and a middling amount of gore. Not really anything to make you jump, just spooky jungle.

Rating: 3/5 Helmets.

Awarded: United Nations Language Award. First the Vietnamese girls are speaking English to the Korean soldiers, who reply in Vietnamese, then the Korean Daniel Jackson is translating a Chinese gravestone into Korean shortly before his buddy receives a radio call in French.

Good Stuff: It's a high-budget fancy war movie, really looking realistic. The spooky stuff also looks really good, like the sets and such. The whole thing just feels like it's going to be great. And if my interpretation of what happened is right, what happens is pretty interesting.

Bad Stuff: That's just my interpretation because I don't know what happened. I'm sure language and culture are part of this, but I had a very hard time understanding what was going on. There's an entire subplot revolving around the leaders knowing more than they are telling the subordinates, but I never understood what they knew (if it was "evil ghosts are killing people", I don't think they would've volunteered for the mission). Another issue is that the soldiers are wacky and bumbling. There were several cases of somebody just not paying attention while the entire squad moved on, and then they were left behind trying to find where they had went. That seems pretty unlikely.

And lastly, one scene in particular stands out as a "whaa....?" It's the classic "somebody is sitting there and gets dripped on. Surprise surprise, it's blood. Let's sloooowly look up and see..." which is fine, except in this case, when the guy looks up, ten gallons of blood are dumped right on his face like it's You Can't Do That On Television. It doesn't make any sense at all (there's just a dead body up there, like there is in every movie that does this), and it's a total slapstick moment as he kind of sits there with a dumb look on his face.

Classic Rules Of Film: If you show a few dozen guns in Act 1, they better all go off in Acts 1-3.

My Take: I went in feeling good about this, then the mysteries started to pile on top of each other and I thought "Cool, I like when I don't just know everything", then they started piling on higher and I began to realize that not all of the mysteries were intentional, or going to be resolved. The entire climax of the movie is kind of inexplicable to me (well, feel free to explicate, if you know!), because it revolves around a character suddenly acting like he's got things all figured out, and I can't understand what it is he knows, or how he comes up with the strategy he does. I do feel like I missed something major, and it could be as simple as the Korean equivalent of "if you see a vampire, you know you need crosses and stakes" - maybe if I had the right cultural background, I too would've seen this particular brand of ghost and thought I knew what to do. Nonetheless, coming from my perspective, it just didn't work at all, resulting in a big letdown.

Obviously I can't divulge my interpretation of what it all meant without spoiling it all, but I can tell you that my ears really perked up when they radioed in and started discussing Private Chang. That is the key to my whole idea, as is the Keyser Soze-esque beginning of the movie. If what I think happened happened, then yay, very cool movie. Too bad it's not clear enough that I can tell, so boo. Makes me want an American remake, actually.

Artistic Nonsense: All the languages in this film actually did get me thinking about how soldiers always pick up significant chunks of the language of the area they're in, how war kind of builds its own odd version of community in that way. When a base is built, suddenly all these foreigners are working in close contact with the locals and they both pick things up from the other, in terms of language and culture. Then they all get blown up! It's the circle of life.

The next movie is Nine Dead, which I saw a recommendation for about a year ago when I was seeking out a specific type of movie: movies about people being trapped by unknown forces in an artificial situation and having to work out an escape or solve a puzzle. I like those kind of movies. Examples include Cube, Exam and House Of Nine. Apparently nine is the right number for such a scenario. The Saw movies are obviously like this, but they kind of take it a different way, a bit less appealing and a lot more severed limbs (I liked the first one quite a bit though!). So yeah, it's one of those. Maybe.
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