Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: February 29th (aka The Curse of February 29th) (2006)

February 29th (aka The Curse of February 29th) (Review)
Jung Jong-hoon/Park Eun-hye/2006
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...focuses more on its story and atmosphere than the traditional horror elements..."

A tollgate employee, Ji-yeon (Park Eun-hye), working the night shift receives a bloody ticket during a blackout. Ji-yeon soon fears she has become a part of the curse of February 29th...

February 29th, part of South Korea's Four Horror Tales, plays out like an urban legend. Off the bat, Ji-yeon is in a mental hospital when a journalist arrives to hear her story. She tells the story of the bloody ticket and the curse of February 29th that followed. It is said that on the 29th of February, which occurs every four years, murders being to occur at the tollgates. Ji-yeon fears the bloody ticket she received, and continues to receive, are from the murderer's victims at other toll gates and she may be next. Even creepier, she suspects the perpetrator is a serial killer back from the dead who may also be her doppelganger. The ending is good; it's not surprising or shocking, but at least it tries to close any holes.

February 29th is a slow-paced horror film. It's not really a slow-burn, rather it's just a slow-paced film. The urban legend vibe and atmosphere of the film is great; it's like a campfire tale, but the story is being told from a mental hospital instead. The horror consists of some jolting jump-scares and some eerie visuals, and the general plot. The jump-scares work well enough and also pick the pace up a bit – there were two jump-scares that actually made me jump, the rest were fun, for lack of a better term. The spooky visuals are the highlight, in my opinion, some are goosebumps-inducing. It's not your typical ghost revenge film, but it still feels very familiar. Also, the film has some made-for-TV qualities, but they weren't detrimental to the experience.

Park Eun-hye is the lead, and she does very well; although she monologues her emotions a bit, she can show it with her facial expressions, as well. Lim Ho plays a detective in this film, and he more than serviceable – my complaint was that he really didn't look like a detective. For a small-budget production, the cast was surprisingly impressive. The music is creepy, and the film is shot well; the use of vivid colors is always appreciated, especially in this case where they help create the ominous mood. Director Jung Jong-hoon crafts a familiar yet creepy and ominous tale; the only other film I've seen in this series is Dark Forest, and this film is much, much better, so props to Jong-hoon.

Overall, February 29th is a slow-paced, creepy and ominous horror film. This is a film that focuses more on its story and atmosphere than the traditional horror elements, so it may not be for every horror fan. The jump-scares are good, the eerie visuals are better, and this tale is surprisingly effective. Definitely worth streaming if you have Netflix, which is where I watched it.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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