Bloody Reunion (2006) Review
Written by: jmh314
Asian horror has become famous for its supernatural films, as many have elements of evil spirits and ghosts. When an Asian film comes out lacking the pale-faced, long dark haired ghosts, it has a chance to set itself apart in the Asian horror community. This is where the film Bloody Reunion comes in, with the chance to be something more in Asian horror. Bloody Reunion is a nice slasher film that relies heavily on elements you’d expect from an 80’s slasher film. It provides the blood you expect from its title but also sets up a very intelligent story filled with dramatic elements. Ultimately, Bloody Reunion tried to work in too many social conflicts and stories of heartache into the film as well as makes the ending too implausible which overall keeps this film from reaching its true potential.
The story of Bloody Reunion revolves around a former teacher, Ms Park. Ms Park had a tough time in life. We witness her out with her class only to have complications from a pregnancy lands her in the hospital. She gives birth to what is a deformed child, and her life takes a downward spiral. Her husband kills himself and her shame for her son leads her to lock him in the basement. She continues to teach but isn’t the same type of teacher she once was.
Flash forward to current times and Ms Park is now wheelchair bound and dying from an unknown illness. As a final good memory, one of her former classes is having a mini-reunion at her country home. Seven classmates in all are coming to the reunion with their former teacher. One by one they arrive and exchange laughs and old stories. They all seem glad to be seeing each other as well as Ms Park one last time. As day turns into night and the alcohol continues to flow, suddenly we see everything is not so pleasant with these former schoolmates. They all begin to remember they don’t like Ms Park because of terrible things she did to them and they all begin to get angry. One classmate’s realize Ms Park made their life miserable and decides to take actions. They begin to stalk and kill the classmates one-by-one in a creepy bunny mask that is believed to once belong to Ms Parks deformed son. Which student is doing this, and what did Ms Park do that pushed this student over the edge? One thing is for sure, Ms Park one final attempt at a happy memory transformed into one bloody reunion.
Some things work well for this film, and others don’t. The film also has three separate acts as the tones are completely different. The first part does a great job setting up the characters and story of the film. We learn a lot about the façade many of them put on to pretend to be happy only to learn each individual is miserable in their own way. This misery is shared by the students as well as Ms Park who suffers in her own ways.
The second part of the film is the killings and torture. It sticks very well to the normal slasher film conventions you’d expect, but does so in a creative way. It throws in some torture scenes that you’d expect from a slasher in these post-Hostel, high gore times but they are creative. I cringed at one of the three main tortures, and that’s something I haven’t done in quite some time. Truly original ideas mixed with that good old 80’s slasher feel made the middle section of this film truly enjoyable.
Unfortunately the third act is when this films wheels fall off. It takes some unexpected twists that didn’t seem plausible and left me feeling confused and unsatisfied. It made me second guess everything that happened in the beginning, and not in a good way. It ended and left me puzzled and wondering how the film ended on such a low not after such an incredible build up.
Director Dae-wung Lim did a lot of things right when he shot this. The lighting was perfect in the beginning; bright and cheerful. The lighting decreased as the moods turned dark and left is in pitch-black surroundings as the shit hit the fan. The natural lighting progression to match the mood of the film was a very nice touch. I wish his camera work would have been more stable though, as the camera was jumpy, sometimes in a distracting way. And one scene was very odd to me that involved constant zooming in and out on characters faces. It is something you’d expect from an amateur camcorder recording, with the constant in and out zooms on people. It just didn’t fit and looked very amateur-ish. Other than this the cinematography was quite good and Dae-wung Lim set the tone of this movie very well with the settings.
All in all I wish Bloody Reunion could have the ending hacked off and re-shot. It was enjoyable up until the final act, and it just fell flat on its face. The characters are engaging, the story’s tension builds very nicely, and it ultimately satisfies with its original vision for kills and gore. It is visually stunning and has that grainy old school slasher feel and it delivers the blood and gore that gives it a leg up on many other Asian horrors. Sadly things end on a downer and this film cant live up to what it could have been. But for the things it does right, Bloody Reunion still stands above many Asian horrors that step outside the mold.