This week we’re watching bloody revenge thriller,‘Monster’. It’s a vicious cat and mouse chase where both characters are hunting to kill.
Crazy street food vendor, Bok-soon (Kim Go-eun) is forced to avenge her younger sister after she is heartlessly murdered by cold-blooded killer Tae-soo (Lee Min-ki). Tae-soo is a monstrous serial-killer with a deeply strong relationship with his adoptive family and a particular interest in moulding clay plots. His unpredictable, psychopathic nature makes him a match for the wacky, village ‘idiot’ Bok-soon who is prepared to kill at all costs.
Director, Hwang In-ho has warped the thriller genre by adding in zany comedic elements and melodramatic characters. Hwang has mentioned in interviews how he craves to break away from genre conventions and has done a fantastic job with ‘Monster’. The film should be credited on its boundary-breaking characters and displaced melodrama. The themes explored revolve around family bonds and love. Both the main protagonists share a special connection to their ‘loved ones’. Although, at times, the plot could have developed to tell the tales of each character’s family to really connect them to reality. There is one particular relationship I would have liked to have seen more of, but I can’t say who as I am refraining to reveal spoilers. The manifestation of the ‘monster’ is subtly violent. His nature is unstable and often switches between murderer, family man and potter. These three personas make for an unpredictable character and it is easy to fall into the empathy trap. There is much more emphasis on the human nature of his character than we see for the other characters. The actors who play Tae-soo and Bok-soon are talented at delivering unstable characters. You don’t doubt their craziness for a second.
The film is a cat and mouse chase and the tagline ‘If I find you, you’re dead’ is an ever-present concern for our main characters who decide to stop running and start chasing. The scenes following the decision to hunt the killer down are slow and long but this is where the film needs to pick up its pace. For the most part, the film is well-paced and developed especially in its final scenes of blood and gore. It is a gruesome film but there’s worse out there in Korean cinema. It’s a nice amount of blood and body parts.
Director: Hwang In Ho
Cast: Kim Go-Eun, Lee Min-Ki, Kim Roe-Ha, Kim Bu-Seon
Watch if you loved Steel Cold Winter.