Haunters (2010)
By: Devon B. on April 4, 2012  | 
Madman | Region 4, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | Korean Dolby Digital 5.1 | 107 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Min-suk Kim
Starring: Dong-won Kang, Jeong Eun-Chae, Da-kyeong Yoon
Screenplay: Min-suk Kim
Country: South Korea
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In response to the old adage "Don't judge a book by its cover," George Burns said something like, "What else can you judge it on?" I know it's a joke, but I always thought there was some wisdom to that, but then every so often I do misjudge something from the cover – though it's not usually a book because I hate reading. I think in the case of Haunters I can be forgiven for mistaking it for a horror movie, because it's called HAUNTERS, for fuck's sake! Anyway, if you're in the mood for a good South Korean ghost movie, this won't be for you, but if you've always wanted to see a movie that was kind of like M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable but, you know, good, Haunters is worth seeking out.

In 1991, a mother leads her blindfolded, disabled child home and gets into an altercation with the boy's abusive father. During the following beating, the boy removes his blindfold and then uses some sort of mental power to kill his father in a very suspicious way. His mother reacts poorly to the situation. Cut forward to 2010.

A group of friends are having a birthday party, but unfortunately the birthday boy, Kyu-Nam, ends up in hospital at the end of the night. Kyu-Nam loses his job as the result of his accident, but finds that cloud's silver lining when he applies for a job at a pawn shop. The shop has had some weird happenings, but Kyu-Nam really likes his employer and his daughter. Unfortunately, the weird happenings are occurring because the business has been targeted by the aforementioned disabled boy who has grown up to be a supervillain, using his mind control powers to take what he feels the world owes him. Kyu-Nam has an immunity to the villain's power, and confronts him during the latest robbery. The villain escapes and gets upset he can't control Kyu-Nam, so he starts controlling those around him in an attempt to take him out. So, no ghosts, but more an "everyman becomes a superhero when he stands up for what he believes is right" kind of story. It's true that Kyu-Nam initially appears to just be a foil to the villain, but it becomes clear early on that while he might not be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound, there's more than meets the eye with Kyu-Nam as well.

Haunters lags a bit in the middle, but that's really its only fault; most of the time it is engaging and entertaining. It was interesting to get a glimpse of multiculturalism in South Korea, and the film's quirkiness and light touches of humour make it very endearing. The film isn't too outré so it should be accessible to anyone, as long as they don't have a problem with subtitles (or speak Korean).

It may not be one for ghost aficionados, but Haunters should definitely be checked out by fans of superhero movies.
Sharp and clean, but the film does have some moments of black crush. Otherwise it looked fantastic.
The sound is available in 5.1 or DTS 5.1 mixes. The DTS has more oomph, but the 5.1 was very well mixed as well. There're some nice explosions and crashes, and even simple things like rainfall are well rendered.
Extra Features
There're about 10 minutes of deleted scenes which add some character development and make the villain a little more callous. Also included is the film's trailer, plus trailers for Bangkok Knockout, Deathnote, Four and Mother.
The Verdict
I often find Korean films a bit ponderous, but Haunters kept me interested for most of its runtime. The DVD presentation is very strong, another quality release from Madman/Eastern Eye, so this one's an easy recommendation.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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