R-Point (Korea) (V)

Su-Chang Kong, who wrote the fabulous thriller Tell Me Something, took his first directing shot with the Korean horror film ‘R-Point,’ but came up a little short of my expectations.

It’s the middle of the Vietnam war and a Korean base receives a radio transmission begging for help. The radio transmission exclaimed, “we’re dying out here!” It wasn’t the transmission that was shocking, it was that it was a platoon of soldiers that went missing months ago. Of course they sent help and a new group of soldiers are sent to R-Point with five days to retrieve either the soldiers, or their dog tags.

I was pretty excited for this flick going into it and left it disappointed. It was by no means terrible it just wasn’t anything spectacular. The film was more of a psychological horror film, where everyone in the movie is experiencing crazy stuff, but you’re not affected by it. The things Kong does to try and scare us is ineffective and far from spooky. For example he’ll have a dead soldier interacting with the soldiers but they don’t know it- and neither do we. It’s not until they realize it after the incident that we know what the hell is going on. How can something be scary or spooky if we are told about it afterwards? It’s like Kong had an inside joke and none of us were invited.

Besides the lack of terror and suspense, the acting was quite ridiculous at times. Imagine watching a bunch of girls freaking out over a boy they saw at the mall- just here there are a ton of Koreans freaking out over something weird that happened hours ago in the woods.

Although the movie wasn’t assembled well, it looked really great and there were some fantastic shots. One crane shot where a bunch of dead soldiers appear in front of one of the living ones was easily one of the coolest shots I’ve seen this year. I also liked how we got to see a ghost’s perspective throughout the film. Kong made sure that he used a different color tone to exemplify that the POV wasn’t human.

In the end ‘R-Point’ is a slow moving and unconvincing thriller. Kong has his ideas in place with his script, he just didn’t execute correctly. I still look forward to more of his films, as think he can vastly improve on his work. Forget this one and pick up ‘Tell Me Something’ instead.

Official Score