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August 11, 2011

Movie Review: Bloody Reunion (2007)

It seems whenever I have the need for a quality, original slasher fix, I find myself exploring the cinematic body-count efforts from other countries . A few years ago, I'm sure many of you folks remember a vicious slasher film from France called High Tension, from director Alexandra Aja. High Tension was a film so truly "old school"- with it's unapologetic carnage and stand-out gore FX from Gianetto Derossi, that it surprised people like a backwards kick to the package. Like France, another area of the world that's beginning to make it's mark in the slasher sub-genre, is Korea. Thanks to Korea I've been exposed to yet another non-American slasher entry that makes many recent slashers here in the states, look like a Goosebump's episode. I know what some of you are saying ,what about Hatchet? Hatchet is a lot of fun… but IT'S a comedy!! Dae-woong Lim's, Bloody Reunion is about as funny as a baby in a blender and seriously gives High Tension a run for its money for being the best '80s slasher not made in the '80s, or in America for that matter. Tartan Video's, Tartan Asia Extreme line have added yet another "extreme" title to their library in the form of Bloody Reunion.


Bloody Reunion starts off very strong. Several butchered corpses are discovered by law enforcement, at Miss Park's(Mi-hee Oh) cabin by the sea. Miss Park recently had a gathering of grade school pupils from 16 years earlier. Park isn't among the bodies, she survives but is in grave condition. How the hell did all this happen? That answer unfolds brilliantly through out the rest of the film. One of the most engaging qualities of Bloody Reunion, is the story. We're given backround about the events preceding the mini-massacre in Miss Park's basement. Most the ex-students now have an "axe" to grind with Miss Park, as she was hardly the nurturing soul. It's been many years since Park's mistreatment of the youngsters, she's now an invalid, but a bit wiser. Since her years as an educator, she's turned a new leaf and is very apologetic for her behavior. Oh did I mention that Miss Park also has a deformed son that lives in her basement? This little guy received some nasty teasing, at the hands of the now grown-up students. It's entirely possible much of what Park unloaded on her students was because of this abuse. Could he be the one knocking off these bullies with some of the gnarliest kills in slasher history?

The acting and story-line for Bloody Reunion is definitely above average for a film of its ilk. You really get a feel of the angst these characters are going through. This only amplifies the effect when they perish in the most gruesome and painful fashion. A lot of the true mayhem in Bloody Reunion doesn't come until about 35 minutes into the feature - but when it does, these are simply unforgettable displays of Grand Guignol gore. Aside from the brief shots of carnage in the opening were spared the visceral bits in exchange for actual narrative. We get to know Miss Park's ex-students during the first half of Bloody Reunion instead of just having them lined up and slaughtered. Many of which are the routine slasher film "types", but they have a little more depth than your used to seeing in the genre. This film also takes many risks. Their is a twist, but its still very satisfying ,albeit depressing to a degree.

Tartan's DVD release of Bloody Reunion also contains some supplements: "The Making of Bloody Reunion" featurette, an interview with director Lim Dae-Woong, deleted scenes(including an extended gore scene!), a special effects and make-up featurette, a Bloody Reunion photo shoot and finally the original theatrical trailer. All are quite interesting. I was happy to see the piece on the special effects and make-up. Those are the biggest highlight in Bloody Reunion, so I was pleased to see this be included in addition to the strong featurette, "The Making of Bloody Reunion".
The audio and visual quality of Tartan’s DVD is excellent. The feature is presented with 5.1 Dolby Digital and is anamorphic wide-screen. There is an English subtitle option for those not sharp in Korean that's a perfectly visible and easy enough to read.

Bloody Reunion is a special film. I really can't recommend it enough to anyone who enjoys their slashers bloody and downbeat, like I do. If you’re stuck on your own home-grown slasher outings, your missing out. Bloody Reunions not only one of the best Korean horror films its also one of the best slashers I've had the pleasure of viewing since I snuck William Lustig's, Maniac in my parents Beta-Max.

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