Bloody Reunion

04/30/2021 09:39

Film: Bloody Reunion (Seuseung-ui eunhye)

Year: 2006

Director: Dae-wung Lim

Writer: Se-yeol Park

Starring: Seong-won Jang, Eung-soo Kim and Yeong-Seon Kim



This was a movie that I had never heard of until the Podcast Under the Stairs’ Summer Challenge Series for the 2000s. I’m surprised it hadn’t popped up before that as I’m a fan of South Korean films and for a stretch there I was seeking as many out as I could. Aside from what I heard on the episode, I came into this one pretty blind. The synopsis is buried grudges have disastrous consequences for a class reunion.

To start us off, we’re given a lot of the back-story very quickly. There is a teacher of Miss Park (Mi-hee Oh). She is pregnant and takes her class to the beach. Something happens to her while there and her son is born deformed. She decides to lock the child in the basement and I’m assuming part of this is cultural as Asian countries from my experience strive for perfection. Due to the grief and stress here, Miss Park’s husband commits suicide, leaving her alone with the child.

We then shift to the present time where an older detective is close to retirement. Along with his partner, they go to a scene that looks to be murder. This brings them to the hospital from what I remember. It is there we see the name Nam Mi-ja (Yeong-hie Seo).

It turns out Mi-ja is taking care of her former teacher, Miss Park. She has come down with a disease that is eating away at her. She is confined to a wheelchair and we even learn that she has trouble controlling her bodily functions. At her house, a group of her former students are coming to visit. There is Myung-ho (Dong-kyu Lee) who we see early on is popping prescription pills, driving a fast car and wearing a leather jacket.

There is also a couple of Eun-young (Seol-ah Yu) along with her fiancé of Se-ho (Hyeon-Soo Yeo). We have a former athlete of Dal-bong (Hyo-jun Park) who is hitchhiking to make the reunion and ends up being picked up by a former classmate of Sun-hee (Ji-hyeon Lee). She used to be overweight, but now is quite attractive. She is hiding something with always wearing sunglasses though. The last one that shows up also lives nearby Miss Park. He dropped out of school after his mother passed away and was kind of weird, Jung-won (Seong-won Jang).

Their time here isn’t as happy as everything sounds though. We are given flashes that Miss Park wasn’t as nice as she is carrying on to be now. Jung-won was mocked by students before leaving class, including the teacher. She has embarrassed them all in different ways when they were younger and the effects are still felt today. It has driven some to drink while others deal with deeper psychological issues. It takes a deadly turn when someone attacks and takes them one by one into the basement to torture them. Is this Miss Park’s deformed son doing this or someone else finally snapping from their psychological damage from the past?

That is where I’m going to leave the recap of this movie as this is really about half of the runtime to be honest. They do a really good job at making sure we get to know each of these characters and this almost plays out like a giallo film actually. I’m not going to call it one, but it has that mystery type vibe for me. I could see some people not necessarily being on board for this part of the movie, but I think it makes a bit more sense to fully understand what happens in the second half.

To shift this slightly, this is an odd movie as well. I don’t really know why they’re having this reunion with Miss Park. At first, we are led to believe they all really like her. I think part of this could be cultural gap for me. She treated them all pretty horrible. We learn that she could be the cause of Dal-bong’s knee injury. She humiliated both Eun-young and Se-ho. Yet, they’re still there seeking her approval for them to be married. She mocked Sun-hee about her weight and there could be abuse that involves Myung-ho as well. All of them have a reason to want to kill her. There is also drinking going on at this party, which we know what can happen there with harboring anger.

There is also this aspect of Miss Park’s deformed child. As kids, they would come to his window and there seems to be a bit of making fun of him. Really the only one that doesn’t is Jung-won. He does get scolded by Miss Park for looking in on him. Of course, the killer in this movie is donning a rabbit mask like the boy would wear and there are some child-like aspects to how he ties up people that are taken into the basement. I will give the movie credit here that I dug the mystery it is building for this.

Now I will admit though, I think I need another viewing of this movie. When the reveals happen, it does feel a bit like a cheat and that everything we’ve seen leading up to this isn’t exactly how we saw it. I want to see if there is something that I missed or some tell that makes this not a cheat, because I really don’t want it to be. To bring this back with a positive though, I really liked some of the images we flash back to explain the ending as it comes together. I still don’t fully think I grasped the ending though.

What I did like was the acting here. Jang is solid as this quiet guy. We don’t fully trust him and as things go on, the group reverts to how they acted in school. Dal-bong starts to bully him again and it is sad actually. Dong-kyu Lee does well in harboring a dark secret and I liked that I could pick up signs before it is revealed there. Ji-hyeon Lee was good as well with someone with low self-esteem. She does want she can to present that she has gotten over her trauma, but we can see it is still there. Oh is interesting with the duality of her character. She’s been humbled by her condition, but it doesn’t give her a pass for the horrible things she did in the past. She pretends like they didn’t happen until she’s confronted which I liked. Park seems like this guy who has his dreams shattered and drinking is how he copes. He is a bit overweight now which fits as well. Seo’s performance is understated here, especially by the end. She does really well. Yeo is similar to that of Dal-bong in that drinking his how he copes, but his anger is manifested differently and Yu was solid as his counterpart. She really has an interesting scene with Miss Park as things progress. The rest of the cast does round this out for what was needed.

So then the last thing I want to go into would be the effects. I was really shocked to see how far they went with things. This movie is bloody and really lives up to that part of its title. I think there is good color and consistency. The attacks looked good and the torture scenes made me cringe as well. The acting was solid in them as well with conveying their fear of what is happening. I believe there probably was some CGI with ants that we got, but I wasn’t bothered there. Aside from that, the look of the movie seems a bit amateur. Not that it is a bad thing as the cinematography still looked good.

In conclusion here, this is an interesting little movie. I like how it starts off feeling like a group of students visiting their teacher, but the more we learn, the more we see that isn’t the case. We’re getting a good look at the trauma caused and the effects it has on adults. The actors do a great job in conveying that. As for the effects department, they looked to be mostly practical and looked good. The soundtrack fit for what was needed. This has an interesting mystery, but it is one that I want to rewatch to ensure it isn’t a cheat now that I know how it plays out. I would say this is above average movie after this first viewing.


My Rating: 7 out of 10