Some of the most creative, mind-bending, and twisted horror movies come out of South Korea. A Tale of Two Sisters, Old Boy, The Host and more than I have time or space to list. So when I sat down to watch Kôji Shiraishi’s A Record of Sweet Murder, I figured I was in for something cool, at the very least. Thankfully, I was correct in this assumption. The interesting thing is that this horror film that takes place in Korea is maybe not a “true” Korean horror film since the director and half the cast are Japanese. It still has the WTF factor that most K-horror provides, however.
At the beginning of A Record of Sweet Murder, we find out there is a man who murdered 18 people in Seoul who just so happens to have attended primary school with a reporter named Sojeyon (Kkobbi Kim). The murderer called her and asked her to bring a Japanese cameraman to a meeting place in the city. So with cameraman Hiroshi (played by writer/director Kôji Shiraishi) in tow, Sojeyon heads out to meet with her old classmate turned psychopath, Sangjoon (Je-Wook Yeon).
“…with cameraman…in tow, Sojeyon heads out to meet with her old classmate turned psychopath…”
Obviously, this is not the safest or smartest idea, but Sojeyon is brave and wants to get the story on why her old friend killed so many people. Hiroshi and Sojeyon meet Sangjoon in an abandoned apartment building. Actually, Sangjoon sneaks up on them wielding a knife and screams at them to go into a particular room, but that’s neither here nor there when you visit the rest of the plot.
Sangjoon believes that he is on a mission from God to bring back his and Sojeyon’s long lost childhood friend, Yoonjin, who died in an accident during a game of “Red Light, Green Light” when they were children. He believes that if he kills 27 people at the age of 27, God will bring back Yoonjin and all the people he killed. Sojeyon obviously thinks he’s crazy, but at this point, they are stuck in a room with him, and there’s no real turning back.
“About 90% of the film takes place in one take…”
I was almost 100% certain that this film was going to be a mockumentary ala Man Bites Dog, about a group of people trying to capitalize off homicide, but it definitely turns into something completely different. After a Japanese couple named Ryota (Ryôtarô Yonemura) and Tsukasa (Tsukasa Aoi) enter the picture, we come to think that maybe Sangjoon is telling the truth?
A Record of Sweet Murder is impressive in two ways. About 90% of the film takes place in one take. Only the last few minutes of the movie take place in a different time frame. Additionally, the story is so unique, and the ending is so out of left field that one can truly say they’ve seen nothing like this film before. After being released in most of Asia, Sweden, and the UK, hopefully, more people in the U.S. can see it now because it truly is a crazy movie. Of course, I should warn you that there is a lot of violence and some nudity, but again we’re talking about a Japanese/Korean horror film so does that not come with the territory? If you’re into J and K-Horror, or just any horror films at all, you should check this out. It’s weird, warped, and wonderful.
A Record of Sweet Murder (2014) Written and Directed by Kôji Shiraishi. Starring Je-Wook Yeon, Kkobbi Kim, Tsukasa Aoi, Ryôtarô Yonemura. Kôji Shiraishi.
8 out of 10 stars