Killer Toon (Review)
Kim Yong-gyun/Lee Si-young/2013
Where to Watch:
"...a fantastic first half, then fumbles to a decent second half."
Amazon Prime When a string of murders resembling her web comics occur, detective Lee Ki-cheol (Um Ki-joon) begins to investigate cartoonist Kang Ji-yoon's (Lee Si-young) connection to the brutal crimes.
Much more than a traditional horror story, Killer Toon continues as Ki-cheol investigates the crimes, and Ji-yoon attempts to clear her name, all while her comics continue to come to life. The first half of the film is creative and refreshing, with a slick blend of live-action and comic horror. However, the second half of the film shows a clear loss of momentum and focus. At this point, you realize the story is wandering without a destination -- it's aiming without a target -- and it's just going around in circles until it finally hits a dead end. The ending of the film is good, but the final act exhausts so much energy with so many unnecessary twists, it's almost tiring.
Killer Toon is a horror film with a creative premise. Although not the first film to experiment with the idea, the concept of art -- in this case, web comics -- coming to life is unique and entertaining. The first half of the film is filled with jolting jump-scares, bloody and spooky visuals, and a fresh, creative style. It's a fun and entertaining experience. The second half of the film, however, takes a turn for the worst. It feels like it's recycling over and over until the ending. The twists are unnecessary and ineffective -- there are no jaw-dropping moments. It still has a slick style, but it has less scares than the first half, and it feels like it starts to drag.
Lee Si-young is great as Ji-yoon, she delivers a consistent and believable performance. Um Ki-joon lacks some charisma and screen presence, but he's more than competent for the role and offers great support. The makeup and special effects are very high quality, and even interesting -- I'd like to see the process for some of the practical effects. The music is wonderful, it sounds like it came from an fairytale -- it's enchanting. The film is also beautifully shot with great cinematography and engaging camerawork. I thoroughly enjoyed the web comic segments, especially when they blended with the live-action. (The film and audio quality on the South Korean Blu-ray are superb.) Kim Yong-gyun's direction is fantastic during the first half, but becomes messy and unbalanced during the second.
Overall, Killer Toon starts off with a fantastic first half, then fumbles to a decent second half. The first half of the film was so fun and refreshing, it's disappointing to see the film stumble the way it did. However, despite a handful of flaws with the story, the second half is still serviceable and offers some entertainment and redeeming qualities.
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.