Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: The Pot (aka Dok) (2008)

The Pot (aka Dok) (Review)
Kim Tae-gon/Lim Hyung-guk/2008
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...confusing and [leaves] many unanswered questions."

Kim Young-Guk (Lim Hyung-guk) moves his pregnant wife, Young-ae, and his daughter, Mi-ae, to Seoul from the countryside. All is well until they run into their religious neighbors who seem fond of Mi-ae...

The Pot moves at a slow pace as it continues to follow this small family. Mi-ae begins to act strangely when she begins spending time with her new neighbors, particularly the grandma of the family. These religious neighbors also act oddly as they have a strange interest in Mi-ae. Young-Guk tolerates the shady neighbors and his daughter's odd behavior in order to succeed in his new business. But, as the strange occurrences become persistent and more violent, and as other aspects in his life, such as his business crumbling, Young-Guk is forced to face his over-religious neighbors and his own personal demons. The film picks up momentum during the final act, the ending packs a surprise, but it fails to land; in fact, the ending will further confuse the audience, if it hasn't already given up on the unnecessarily complicated plot.

The Pot is a slow horror film. It's occasionally a slow-burn horror film, but it's mostly slow for the sake of being slow. There is an ominous atmosphere throughout and a few creepy scenes and characters, but not nearly enough. Mi-ae kind of plays the Damien (from The Omen) of this film, but not nearly as evil or even explained as clearly; she starts off spoiled to begin with, then becomes more rotten as the story progresses. In other words, the horror is almost nonexistent. From what I understood, The Pot is another religion gone bad plot with a twist. The twist at the end distorts the overall concept, though, making it more confusing and leaving many unanswered questions. It's unfortunate because I was interested throughout the film, despite being a generic plot, and the end kind of fumbles. Aside from the confusing story and lack of genuine horror, The Pot also lacks engagement -- although I wanted to see where it was going, it never really hooked me.

I liked Lim Hyung-guk as the lead, and Ryoo Hyun-Bin, who plays Mi-ae, is also great a great child actress. The rest of the acting was a bit on the bland and boring side; it doesn't help that most of the characters are stereotypes. The film is shot competently, not outstanding or terrible. The music is mostly forgettable. On the technical side, The Pot is merely serviceable, never striving for much more than good enough. Kim Tae-gon directs and writes The Pot with little direction or focus; the cast seems bored and lifeless, and the plot is a mess.

Overall, The Pot is an interesting film. It's supposed to be a horror film, but it's severely lacking in the department. I liked the ominous atmosphere and some of the creepy characters, but the plot is a mess with a severe lack of engagement or significant plot points, and it becomes more confusing as it tosses everything at you during the last 15 minutes. Fans of atmospheric horror films may find some enjoyment, most others will find an incomprehensible and uneventful film.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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