The Record (2000)

Rating: D+

Dir: Kim Gi-hun + Kim Jong-Seok
Star: Kang Seong-min, Park Eun-hye, Ahn Jae-hwan, Jung Min

After a summer prank on the class victim goes wrong, five schoolmates dispose of the body and vow to keep it a secret. Except, the body then vanishes, as does proof of the murder, and a masked figure dressed in red starts to stalk the survivors. Yes, we’re deep in I Know What You Did Last Summer territory here, and were reeling off most of the plot points and scares minutes before the film got round to utilising them. And yes, Korean teens are every bit as dumb as their American counterparts. Of course it makes sense for the group to split up when investigating! Better yet, why doesn’t one girl go off and relax by having a sauna in a near-deserted bath-house?

Still, a Korean high school is at least a somewhat novel setting, and for the first fifteen minutes or so, it feels like this might not actually be a horror film at all. There are also occasionally moments of invention – we particularly liked one moment involving a severed arm, a meat-hook and a cellphone – which mean that while you’ll certainly have seen this before, it’s not entirely without entertainment value. The hand-held video sequences, particularly at the end, are not without merit either. However, I don’t watch Korean cinema to see knockoffs of Hollywood teen horror, no matter how competently executed, and so this one has to be regarded as a disappointment.