Tell me something… If Asian horror films are so damn good, why not take a chance with an Asian Thriller? Usually sophomore filmmakers fail miserably on their second film, but thats not the case with director Yoon-Hyun Chang.
Tell Me Something is like a alternate version of the classic U.S. film with Brad Pitt, Se7en. Chang’s film is a little different than Se7en with a different feel and different tone to the film. Just like Se7en, Tell Me Something succeeds where so many have failed in this genre.
This Korean film is about a series of black garbage bags filled with dismembered body parts begin to show up around Seoul. Each bag is missing one body part from it and the next body always turns up with the missing part and a new missing limb. Detective Cho (Suk-Kyu Han) stumbles across a woman named Chae Su-Yeon (Eun-ha Shim) while searching for clues and realizes that the victims are all ex-lovers of Chae. From then on the mystery unfolds.
As usual in an Asian film, what makes this movie so incredible is the don’t hold anything back approach. When watching a movie about bags of body parts, you don’t want tiny glimpses of the hand, or foot, you want to see it all, bloody and disgusting. You want blood to poor out and want to be shocked. Tell Me Something achieves a level of gore that is not “cheesy” and not over-done. It is placed well and keeps the with the dark atmosphere of the film.
Tell Me Something starts off with a bang, tons of situations arise and the movie is fast paced and exciting. Once Chae is introduced, the film slows, but not to a halt thank god. It’s a significant lose of pace in the film but just when you thought you were going to fall asleep, director Chang hits you hard with some great visual effects and dialogue which brings you right back in. The dialogue is very well written, and the story progresses with ease, it’s just after such a great start, the story-telling is unwanted.
Whether you want the story-telling or not, it’s there, and it’s necessary. The story is bound very well, and the actors play it off extremely well. I loved Detective Cho in this movie, he is an incredible actor, the Asian equivalent to Morgan Freeman. He is a key that makes this movie so sweet, he casts incredible facial features, and somehow is able to hold back the over-acting which is so dominant in most Asian film. Not to take any credit away from Eun-ha, she plays a huge role in the film and is very well at giving you the feel that she’s a mystery throughout the film. She’s quiet, shy, but also intense, she has the ability to change your mind about her one second to the next, without even a word.
These actors had a great storyline to work with and achieved so much considering this could have been a sophomore bust film. Chang takes the story and adds so much to it, with the great acting, and amazing visual aspects, Tell Me Something should have been just another police thriller, and instead was turned into a horrifying feat, just like Se7en.
If you’re becoming a big fan of Asian horror or Asian Cinema in general, or already are, I highly recommend Tell Me Something.