Spider Forest (2004)
By: J.R. McNamara on October 29, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Eastern Eye (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 Korean DD 5.1, Korean DTS 5.1. English Subtitles. 114 minutes
The Movie
Director: Il-gon Song
Starring: Woo-seong Kam, Jung Suh, Kyeong-heon Kang, Hyeong-seong Jang
Screenplay: Il-gon Song
Music: Min-hwa Yun
Country: South Korea
AKA: Geomi Sup
There are some films that just defy explanation. Korean film Spider Forest (aka Geomi sup) is one of those films. Directed by writer/ director Il-gon Song, it is indefinable. Sometimes horror, mystery, thriller and at times crime drama, it hovers amongst genres without ever completely settling on one. More in the tone of May than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this is one of those slow burn movies that requires your full sober attention, and shocks with both its sex, its violence, and even it's occasional, wonderful black sense of humor.

Spider Forest tells the tale of a young man Kang (Kam Woo-sung) who has had a series of brutal tragedies thrust upon him until he reaches breaking point. The film starts with him going to a lonely cabin in the middle of a haunted forest known as Spider forest, where he finds the bodies of a man, and his girlfriend, Su-yeong Hwang (Kang Kyeong-Heon) who have been savagely attacked, their bodies stabbed multiple times, by an assailant who the young man believes he saw leaving the scene of the crime, and who, he believes, pursues him out of the forest. ON his way to reporting the incident, he is hit by a car and awakes to find his memories a jumble, and so, in recounting his tale to a police officer, the story continues…

This film is beautifully shot, and even through the obvious language barrier (this is a subtitled film), is clearly well acted, with some of the actors bringing some excellent nuances and individuality to their characters. At times watching this film is more like looking at a series of beautifully crafted landscape paintings; all the set pieces are a joy to the eye…and the three female leads are lovely as well.
In general the image is great, but at some points there seemed to be massive amounts of tiny artefacts, that if watched on a smaller screen probably wouldn't have even been noticed. The crew on this film should be congratulated though, on their excellent uses of color, and the lighting is amazing.
The audio is nothing short of spectacular. Moody, and really makes a wonderful use of the 5.1 setting, especially some of the soundtrack bits.
Extra Features
The Making of Spider Forest (19 min 54 sec) is not so much a making of but more behind the scene's footage, really not that interesting unless you are a real fan of this sort of footage.

Cast Interview is divided into three interviews. The interviews are with Kam Woo-Sung (6 min 36 sec), Suh Jung (2 min 44 sec) and Jang Hyuh-Sung (1 min 27 sec) and are all in Korean. At first this can seem a mystery, but for some reason the subtitles for the extras need to be selected manually. These interviews are the usual actor stuff, praising the cast, the crew, and chatting about how spooky the locations are.

Deleted Scenes (13 min 43 sec) are a selection of inessential scenes that would have turned this 115 minute film into a 130 minute film (or thereabouts). Again, the subtitles have to be set-up for English, even if you just did so for the Cast Interviews, which is a little frustrating.

Original Trailers of which there are two, and run for 1 minute 9 seconds and 2 minutes and 6 seconds.

Stills Gallery is a selection of 40 pictures from the film.

There are also trailers for other Madman titles: Shinobi, Koma and Brotherhood of War.
The Verdict
Spider Forest is a delicate tale that skates between brutal and beautiful. Not so much a must see, and probably not for gore-hounds, but certainly for fans of well orchestrated tales that leave the viewer with something to thing about when the film ends. Like I said though, not for everyone!
Movie Score
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