Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Review: Paradise Murdered (2007)

Paradise Murdered (Review)
Kim Han-min/Park Hae-il/2007
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"The humor makes for some laugh out loud moments..."

Police arrive at a beautiful remote island where the 17 inhabitants have mysteriously disappeared without a trace...

From there on, Paradise Murdered goes back into a flashback for the rest of the film to explain the bizarre disappearances. As it turns out, the peaceful island was shaken up by a bloody triple homicide. As the weather becomes more ferocious and the radio comes up busted, the inhabitants have no way of contacting the mainland to report the crime. So, paranoia fills the minds of the inhabitants; is a psychopath among them? Is it a ghost? The smart and charismatic doctor (Park Hae-il) heads the investigation filled with twists and turns. The ending is creative and interesting, but lacks impact -- it didn't come off as surprising or very effective.

I went into this blind, expecting a South Korean crime-thriller with an engaging mystery. It is a crime film, and there is some mystery, but it is not a thriller. Rather, Paradise Murdered blends some humor into the mix. Like I said, the mystery was enough to keep me engaged to the end, but it often felt like it dragged and the revelation wasn't really satisfying. The humor makes for some laugh out loud moments; I emphasize some because the comedy more often felt tacked-on. The vibe of the film is bizarre, like if it were aiming for a To Catch A Virgin Ghost, but it failed to fully capitalize on that style -- it comes up short or half-baked.

Park Hae-il is great as the lead -- he's charismatic and likable, and he performs well otherwise. The cinematography is great, the setting is beautifully captured -- the setting itself is wonderful, as well. The music was mostly forgettable, there was one part of the score that stood out. Although there is plenty of blood, its not a particularly gory film; but, the makeup is great for the little gore shown on screen. Kim Han-min directs Paradise Murdered but lacks some focus; if its supposed to be a genre-bender, like Chawz or To Catch A Virgin Ghost, why is there such an inconsistent mood? It's as if Han-min was unsure of his direction, and you can see it in the final product.

Overall, Paradise Murdered is a good mystery film. The mystery kept me engaged, and the resolution is interesting -- its presentation is lacking, but it is interesting. The humor adds some life to the film, but it is underutilized and often feels out of place. If you're looking to kill a night, Paradise Murdered is entertaining enough, especially if you don't question everything.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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