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[Blu-ray Review] ‘Suddenly in the Dark’ is a Wonderful Slice of 80’s K-Horror

The more you get into picking up cult and genre films on Blu-ray from the smaller indie labels the more you become aware of who releases what. All these labels are out to do the same thing — release as many deserving films onto home video as possible — but every company has their own specific brand, and if they don’t start out with one in mind they naturally develop one of the years. Mondo Macabro, one of the best in the business, has a very specific brand.

Whereas most labels release older genre titles that none of us expected to make it to Blu-ray, they’re still titles we’re familiar with. This is completely fine of course, I love getting movies I love on Blu-ray. I want them all on Blu-ray. When it comes to Mondo Macabro, however, they put out truly obscure titles, the type of films that typically aren’t known too much outside of the region in which they were released. That’s another thing with Mondo Macabro, they release not only obscure titles but obscure foreign titles. Titles like Pasquale Festa Campanile’s The Slave, which is a beautiful film. I knew nothing about Greek exploitation but thanks to Mondo Macabro I’ve actually written about 3 different Greek exploitation films right here at Bloody Disgusting — The Wife Killer, Tango of Perversion and Medousa.

I mention all this off the top because one of Mondo Macabro’s most recent Blu-ray releases is another prime example of the company releasing obscure goodness upon the world. The title is a slice of 80’s K-horror in the form of Suddenly in the Dark!

Yu-jin (Yun Il-Bong) is a successful entomologist that recently returned from a trip in which he was hunting for and collecting butterflies. He was gone for 8 days which seems to be a bit of a surprise to his wife Seon-hee (Kim Young-ae). According to Yu-jin he didn’t intend to be gone that long but it was a successful trip and he had a lot of luck so things were extended a bit. Whatever the case may be, Seon-hee is simply pleased to have him home and is looking to spend time with him, but unfortunately, Yu-jin has slightly different plans. His trip was so successful that he needs to invite his colleagues over and set up a slide show to show them what he’s found. Seon-hee is clearly disappointed but she understands.

During the slideshow presentation, a picture of a creepy doll with a white face pops up and gives everyone a little fright. How the picture got there Yu-jin doesn’t know, but he mostly shrugs it off. Seon-hee happens to see it, however, and can’t get the disturbing little thing out of her head.

Shortly after Yu-jin goes out on another trip to find more butterflies and it’s once again a fairly lengthy adventure. When Yu-jin returns this time he not only has pictures of butterflies but also a young orphan teenager named Mi-ok (Lee Ki-seon). Yu-jin doesn’t know a whole lot about Mi-ok other than the fact that her mother died. He stumbles upon her just wandering around and brings her home to be their maid. Mi-ok brings along with her a little wooden doll.

Seon-hee takes to Mi-ok at first. And why wouldn’t she? Mi-ok is just this poor, sad little orphan girl that needs someone to take her in and look after her. Seon-hee and Yu-jin can easily do that and they get a maid out of it. Sounds like a win-win for all parties involved. Once Mi-ok gets washed up, however, she turns out to be quite stunning. Soon Seon-hee begins to become suspicious of Mi-ok. Is she having an affair with Yu-jin?

Seon-hee had what would have been considered a good, normal life. Suddenly she finds herself paranoid. Is she being replaced by a younger woman? What’s the deal with the weird wooden doll? Perhaps everything is merely in her head? Seon-hee isn’t quite sure but what’s clear is that the life she once lived has been turned upside down and one way or another Mi-ok has played a role in that.

Suddenly in the Dark contains many familiar elements. The basic premise of a young housewife possibly going insane has been done plenty of times before. What sets this offering apart is the style and flare with which it was made. The film is shot beautifully with a number of interesting camera angles that you don’t always see. It’s a movie that takes full advantage of being a movie. Every striking visually image is set to a wonderful synth-heavy score.

The Blu-ray release looks stunning. Mondo Macabro doesn’t skimp on anything and that’s the case here. They’ve once again delivered a little-seen gem and done so with a pristine presentation. The special features are rad as well with a pretty solid history of Korean horror and an awesome gallery of Korean VHS artwork.

This is 100% a release you want to pick up. If you ever have movie nights with friends where you always try to impress them by showing them things they haven’t seen then Suddenly in the Dark is a movie you want to own and the Mondo Macabro Blu-ray is the version you want.

Suddenly in the Dark is now available on Blu-ray from Mondo Macabro.



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