Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Review: Bestseller (2010)

Bestseller (Review)
Lee Jung-ho/Uhm Jung-hwa/2010
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...a run-of-the-mill mystery-thriller."

After being suspected of plagiarism, writer Hee-soo (Uhm Jung-hwa) moves into a small house in a rural city in hopes of recovering her career.

Bestseller treads very familiar territory. The story follows Hee-soo as she moves into this house and attempts to write a new book. Of course, creepy things happen in the home and Hee-soo conjures an idea for a book. The new book is published, but it turns out Hee-soo has plagiarized again. So, Hee-soo returns to the home to unravel the mystery. Best seller has a few twists and turns, albeit predictable, and leads to a decent ending; much of the third act is contrived, but exciting.

Bestseller is a run-of-the-mill mystery-thriller. It really doesn't offer anything new to the genre. Should it have to? Well, that's debatable. I didn't mind much, though. The story is interesting enough to keep my attention, and it's dark enough to feel like a genuine thriller. The mystery is engaging, but very predictable. The suspense is light -- it's not heart-stopping, but it's there. The film packs a few thrills during its climax, which helped liven the film up a bit. All around, the film also has an ominous atmosphere; so, it is occasionally creepy. Not exactly a horror film by any means, but it has some chilling scenes. It does have a few pacing issues, though, and the runtime is bloated, so it can feel dull and uneventful and dull at times.

Uhm Jung-hwa, who is great in Dancing Queen, is a mixed bag -- she starts off well and finishes neatly, but everything in-between is overacted. I can tolerate most melodramatic performances, but Jung-hwa felt too over-the-top. The rest of the cast is good. The film looks good -- no complaints on my end. The music is a standard thriller soundtrack. The English subtitles on the Amazon Prime Instant Video are good; there are a few flaws, such as "hears" instead of "years", but you'll understand the story. Writer and director Lee Jung-ho is decent; the story is average, but the film does have some suspense, some thrills, and a great atmosphere.

Overall, I liked Bestseller. The suspense is decent, the climax is exciting, and the film has a creepy atmosphere. The story is familiar yet enjoyable. However, it's not without flaws, such as the predictable twists and turns, the inconsistent pacing, and the bloated runtime. Worth a rental or a purchase at a low price, at least.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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