Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: The Quiet Family (1998)

The Quiet Family (Review)
Kim Jee-woon/Park In-hwan/1998
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime 

"... the plot really glows of witty, cheeky writing."

A family moves from the city into a large home in the mountains, which they convert into a lodge. Eventually, customers do start pouring in, but suffer from mysterious deaths...

The Quiet Family follows this family, which consist of the father and mother, the uncle, and three siblings, as they run the lodge. When they wake up to dead customers, they decide to hide the bodies -- business has been terrible and they can't further jeopardize it by reporting the suspicious deaths. It is a bit repetitive in its formula, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hilarious. Anyway, the plot breaks the formula during the third act when they're asked to harbor a hitman, all while being investigated by the police. The ending of the film is interesting -- a little humorous and subtly cheeky.

The Quiet Family is a very black comedy, with some very light horror elements. Although I found the bulk of the plot to be a bit repetitive, the characters are really the selling points for The Quiet Family. Nice but lazy and clumsy Uncle Kang and thieving and perverted Young-min, played by Choi Min-sik and Song Kang-ho respectively, are absolutely hilarious. Furthermore, I also really enjoyed the use of overwhelming coincidence and irony; the plot really glows of witty, cheeky writing. The pacing is often too slow, and the story occasionally feels uneventful. Those are really the only two flaws I could find in the film.

The all-star cast is superb -- each cast member share about the same screen time, which is great. Of course, Choi Min-sik and Song Kang-ho deliver the most energetic and humorous performances; it's great to see two legends share the screen so early in their careers. The film is shot beautifully. The choice of music is fantastic, very unique and creative, and I loved the placement. The English subtitles in the Hong Kong DVD are mediocre; a lot of grammatical errors and the translation isn't complete; enough to get through the film, but still broken. Kim Ji-woon writes and directs The Quiet Family; Ji-woon delivers a greatly written screenplay with superb direction, the humor is genuine and the execution is fantastic.

Overall, The Quiet Family is a hilarious black comedy. I laughed throughout most of the film; the humor is very black, but it's still a contagious and uproarious comedy -- once you start laughing, you can't stop! Be warned, though, it can be on the slow side of pacing and it is also undeniably repetitive.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, and sex.

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