Oct 10, 2013

Day 10: The Guard Post (2008)

Can a once-prolific blogger who hasn't written 31 posts all year find it in his soul to review 31 previously unseen horror films in 31 days of October? Let's find out...

One of the things I told myself when I started this series was that I was going to watch as many South Korean horror films as are available to me on the streaming options that I have. The problem is that I've already seen just about every South Korean horror film available to me. I'm a fan. And not just of their horror films. I've seen some really good stuff in many different genres coming out of South Korea. Here's one I had never even heard of before, and the plot summary was enough to grab me by the balls without letting go. 

A band of soldiers assigned to the De-militarized Zone between North and South Korea are called to investigate an incident at one of the many guard posts (GP506, to be exact) in the DMZ. What they find is a horrific pile of dead bodies with one blood-soaked man standing over them holding an axe.  In a panic, shots are fired and the crazed man winds up in a coma. A military investigator and his assistant are brought in to find out exactly what happened. We are about 3 minutes into the movie right now. Holy crap!

The investigator is basically told that he has only this one night to find the truth of what happened at GP506. After that, the government is going to cover it up. If they actually even WANT the truth, that is. Maybe they can't handle the truth. Son, they live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Yoo? They have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Kang, and you curse the Mar...sorry, I seem to have gotten stuck in the wrong movie review there for a little bit. I'll try not to let it happen again. 

But, like that other film, there are political reasons that the government wants this case wrapped up quickly. Another survivor of the massacre is found, and we learn that he was the commanding officer of GP506. He's also the son of one of the big muckety-mucks up the line in the government. Not good. And we also see, through flashbacks, that there was an illegal post shooting at their North Korean counterparts. Yup. But all similarities end there, fortunately.

From there, actually, the film started reminding me of two other films. The Thing and Dog Soldiers. For various reasons, but certainly the atmosphere had a lot to do with it. Trapped in an isolated place. Stalked by an unknown terror or even worse...your comrades. Lots of good stuff here.

One complaint could have something entirely due with the transfer over to digital streaming, but I'm not sure. Every time the camera panned, the motion was all jumpy and it made it difficult to watch. But maybe the filmmakers actually wanted us viewers to squirm. I certainly didn't need it. So I'm going to blame it on Netflix or whomever prepared this streaming HD version. Awful. 

But that's about only real complaint that I have. The film was well-placed and had some excellent acting. I'm the kind of guy that prefers subtitles with my foreign films, but if you prefer to have them dubbed, then you might have an issue with that as well. It made me no never mind. You have to pay attention though. The film jumps back and forth between the present and flashbacks very often. And that can be confusing with foreign-language films.  

Verdant Dude rating: 4 out of 5 pumpkins


Slyde said...

before you mentioned it, i was thinking 'dog soldiers'.

might have to look this one up... its on netflix?

Verdant Earl said...

I was going to be a jerk and refer you back to my blog post, but this was the first one this month that I didn't mention where it came from. Yes...it's on Netflix Instant.

Poppy said...

South Korean movies that make it our way tend to rock. I don't want to spoil this for myself so I saw your rating and the title and will watch it!

Verdant Earl said...

Poppy - I've got another really good one coming up that might be difficult for you to watch, but it was excellent.