Hot on the trail of a serial killer who uses acid on his victims leaving behind only the bones, the police turn to Hyun-min, a former forensic sculptor adept in reconstructing faces by examining and interpreting skulls. Wi... more »th the victims' bones in his house, Hyun-min's daughter experiences disturbing visions of a long-haired woman in a white robe, a woman whom she may know. As he races against time to find the answers before the visions overtake his daughter, the deadly truth behind these victims reveals a sinister conspiracy that threatens everyone involved.« less
"* Of all of the Asian Horror DVD movies in my personal collection [that were] purchased on the International market, this is the one-- along with "Tyakusin Ari" (aka "One Missed Call") --I totally had NOT expected would be picked up for official "Region-1" DVD release. I don't know what this all means from the DVD marketers' perspective, but I'm beginning to have my... umm... "suspicions."
Here we have a movie that is neither exclusively "good" nor exclusively "bad" -- just weighed heavily in "ambivalence."
The main theme of the story is intriguing enough: A forensic facial reconstructionist, distraught over the death of his wife and additionally burdened with caring for his deathly ill little daughter, submits his resignation from police work even as he is being begged to stay on due to the sheer volume of work still needed to be done which requires his expertise. He is "involuntarily" coaxed back into service by a young new protege and by a number of "unexplained phenomena" surrounding a new skull he has been asked to offer his help with.
Complicating matters is the repeatedly unstable condition of his sickly daughter -- who had undergone a very dangerous & difficult heart transplant surgery that required a very rare type of "organ donor match" in order for the surgical procedure to have even the slightest chances of success (a "MacGuffin" referred to in the movie as "Beta Alergic"). "Inspired," if you will, by a thread of ghostly apparitions and other related inexplicable sights & sensations, the specialist becomes convinced that the spirit connected to the latest skull in his possession will not rest quietly until it has been given its face back. During this process he gradually becomes convinced that his daughter had become the recipient of the heart of the skull/ghost in question and that the circumstances under which it was acquired may be highly (and frighteningly) suspect. Et cetera and so-forth.
Even with the suspensions of logic that are required, this film has one MAJOR fault which prevented me from scoring it any higher than I surely would have: THE COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY "SADAKO-LIKE" GHOSTLY APPEARANCES! -- ALL OF THEM! (You will completely understand my frustration over this once the "Big Reveal" at the end becomes evident!) It was bad enough that our main protaganist was being "tormented" by Sadak...uh... 'that long-haired ghost-woman' -- but why was Sada... 'that ghost' ALSO being used to frighten his daughter? (Yeah, I know -- it's all supposedly because of the "connection" they all have between themselves & whatnot, but again the "LOGIC" behind it gets thrown to the wind upon the "Big Reveal"!) In other words, this movie was just trying to capitalize off of the "creepy imagry" made popular by Nakata Hideo's "Sadako" in "RING," and nothing more.
Had they left the ghostly appearances completely out of this movie it would have worked perfectly as a metaphysical/psychological thriller and would have made for a much stronger and more memorable movie, in my opinion.
And typical of what many "A-Horror" movies have become notorious for, this one features several "flashback" sequences which are immediately indistinguishable from the main scenes of the film, so expect to be thrown off track at a couple of important junctures -- then angered that such haphazard incorporations helped to further ruin an already difficult-enough viewing experience.
So the real question becomes, Can I recommend this title for purchase? At it's currently listed price, I'd say no -- especially if you're so fed up with the "A-Horror" cliches of recent years that you'd feel insulted that a movie would make such deliberate use of them for no other purpose than simply to capitalize on that market. Should the price come down on it, however-- say, somewhere in the neighborhood of $14.95 & under --then I'd say go ahead and give it a look-see, it wouldn't hurt much of anything then, if you did."
OLD CARCASS, NEW FLESH
Anton Ilinski | Moscow, Russia | 08/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Face" is a typical example of a nice Korean thriller that contains all the necessary for a genre details. It has elements of a horror movie, of cops-vs-maniac films, of a criminal thriller. Director Sang-Gon Yoo keeps the action tense and fast-going so you won't get bored. The story involves a lot of things: gruesome murders after which the murderer dissolves bodies in acid, face-reconstruction, illegal organ transplantation and ghostly apparitions. I know told this way it all may seem a one big mess but finally all the segments of this intricate film perfectly fit like parts of a puzzle.
You'll definately get a twist in the end like you've probably expected. Yes, the scheme this movie is based on is quite recognizable but you can never know all the details... And details make this picture memorable. I must note a perfect acting from all the main performers - I was pleasantly surprised. The cunning story-line, plus great acting and superior directing make "Face" a remarkable film among all other Korean and Asian in general thrillers.
Partly I have to agree with the reviewer 'Ace-of-Stars' who says all those Sadacoesque appearances were absolutely unnecessary. I think they were a bit worn-out but they seemed to fit the story well and this girl with long black hair was actually needed for the script. So... It already became a trademark of Asian horror cinema like a blind (crippled, unpretty, timid - pick any) girl who stays alive in the end of American slashers.
"Face" is definately worth watching, it's not a minute boring, it's well crafted and intense although at the same time pensive like many Korean films."
David West | Hebron, KY, United States | 07/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's this guy who does facial reconstructions for the police. His daughter is about to undergo heart transplantation but he is handed a case which he refuses to look after his daughter. He is "sent" an assistant and, after much supernatural trauma (many familiar motifs here), he decides to accept the case. The beauty of this film is that it takes you here, then there, then somewhere else and ultimately leaves you not knowing the direction you're going in...until you've got there. It's a good one."
Face it Gang, it's Good
Barry Brandon | Phoenix, AZ | 07/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What is not to like ? Great story and top notch acting. Yun-ah Song and Hyeon-jun Shin are outstanding in there roles, I will be keeping my eye on these two. As you have read this is kind of a haunted C.S.I. sort of story with our main man Hyeon-jun being a forensic artist that can sculpt a face out of clay on a skull like I have seen on Court T.V. and A.M.W. The ghost are creepy as hell and the story is nice and tight. You should hunt this film down like John Walsh would track down a "Narco Terrorist"."
A Decent Supernatural Film: Above Average
Ernest Jagger | Culver City, California | 10/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Face," by director Sang-Gon Yoo is not a great horror film, but it is well above average. The film is a thriller, suspense, and horror film rolled into one. I am not quite sure what attracted me to this film--but I did find it to be one of the better ones of the genre. Not great, but good enough to recommend to others. The film centers around the character Hyun-min Lee (Hyun-jun Shin) who is a facial reconstructionist, and it is his job to put faces to unknown skulls. He works for the police, and his work entails the methodical and near exact science of trying to put a name to the unknown dead. Further, Hyun-min Lee is a widower, and he is taking care of a very sick child. Because of his daughters weakening condition [she has recently had a heart transplant] he decides to leave the force in order to take care of her. However, because he is needed by the police to help identify unknown victims--it is decided that he can work at home. This way he can take care of his daughter while also helping the police.
Moreover, he has a new assistant. She is Jung Sun-Young (Yoon-ah Song). She leaves a skull in a box in his lab, telling him that the face needs to be recognized. However, for some reason he refuses to work on this skull. Yet, strange things begin to happen and a strange event occurs which leads him to believe that the spirit of the deceased wants to be recognized. Suddenly, many strange occurrences begin to happen. With the eagerness of Lee now trying to solve the identity of the latest skull, another area of the film opens up. The lead Detective who has been investigating a recent spate of murders discovers that there is a connection to the killings, as they have all had there hearts checked out prior to their deaths. Moreover, the detective discovers that Lee's daughter has a condition called beta-allergy, and that his daughter Jin is a patient of a one Dr. Yoon, who is a heart transplant specialist.
The detective begins to suspect something about the skull that Lee is presently working on. I do not wish to spoil this film for you. Therefore, I will go no further with the plot, other than to say that the film is very good for this type of genre. Plus, the film acts as a thriller, mystery, suspense, and horror film rolled into one. What is it about this skull? And what connection does it have to Lee? Will Lee be able to identify this skull? And what about all of the strange behavior happening around him? Will it finally cease? Or is there something more sinister surrounding the skull. I liked this film. The twists in the film are great, and you will see this worked out at the end of the narrative. I don't want to give out too many details, but the film does deliver as a very good mystery. Recommended. Rent it first. [Stars: 3.5]"