Murder Death Koreatown is about as low budget indie as you can get. Fascinated, throughout most of the film, I kept asking myself, how is the filmmaker getting these shots. I’m even more interested in how he got his actors/subjects. I’ll start with the shots. When creating a thriller with no money, editing is the key, because if you look closely at the images in this movie, they’re merely random images shot on probably leisurely walks through Koreatown and aptly spliced together to feel like a found-footage documentary.
How about the acting? Everyone appears to be your average Koreatown citizen. I seriously doubt there was a classically-trained actor in the lot. If I were to guess, the film’s actors were lucky enough to be walking by that day and grabbed out of obscurity to star in a movie, “Just say these lines…”
“…the filmmaker maintains a dark tone throughout the film using random footage; he captures on the real streets of Koreatown.”
Let’s get to it. Murder Death Koreatown is not by any means a great thriller, but what it is is a terrific low-budget indie thriller. This means over a period of time you’re going to forgive any shortcomings when it comes to production value (because there are none), and forgive missing story elements for the same reason. I like how the filmmaker maintains a dark tone throughout the film using random footage; he captures on the real streets of Koreatown. There’s an art here in taking some plain-looking shots and manipulating it to fit the tone of the story.
To me, the most remarkable part of the film is the mysterious documentarian himself. This guy comes off as a bit annoying at the start. He then becomes even more annoying as he confronts various witnesses, accusing them of hiding the truth. But there is a transformation in this character that sneaks up. I found this final transformation pretty cool and effective.
I have a great deal of admiration for Murder Death Koreatown. I would suggest watching it as a way to support low-budget indie filmmaking. Not everyone can be Orson Welles. You’ll have fun and will probably admire how it was all put together as I did.