Sunday, May 10, 2009

Military Horror

R-Point (2004)
Written and Directed by: Su-chang Kong
K-Horror movies, as horror movies from Korea is popularly known, have an almost magical ability to make the macabre and bizarre look absolutely convincing, even while using the traditional parameters of evoking fear, blood and zombies included. And mercifully, at most places, it tends to avoid the religious mambo-jumbo, which Hollywood is so fond of.
No wonder then, K-Horror is slowly replacing the Japanese horror industry as a potential ‘inspiration’ for Hollywood. Two prominent recent examples: The 2008 film ‘Mirror’ by Alexandre Aja was a remake of Korean film 'Geoul sokeuro' (2003). The 2009 film ‘The Uninvited' is a remake of 'A Tale of Two Sisters,' the highest grossing Korean horror movie ever.
In this context, the 2004 film ‘R-Point’ makes itself a strong contender for appreciation. The best part of the film is that instead of teen-agers and families with a past, it tells the story of a group of soldiers: A horror fest in the war zone, and in most parts, it’s eerily convincing, though, like so many horror flicks, it never explains the reasons for all these deaths. But it’s scary enough (I tried to watch it alone in the night and had to stop halfway!)
The story is set in Vietnam in 1972. R-Point is a location which the locals consider sacred. According to the legend, the Chinese had killed thousands of Vietnamese a long times ago, dumped their bodies in a lake and built a temple there. During the world war, the French army had visited the place and all were mysteriously dead. In 1972, an US chopper was shot down over the area and all Americans were killed. Then in 1972, a Korean battalion went missing in the area.
Now, after six months, the army camp gets a message for the lost battalion. So, it sends nine men under renowned combat veteran, LT Choi Tae-in.
Here begins the mayhem, where the line between the dead and the alive starts to disappear.
The best part of the film is its speed. It does not linger unnecessary just to create some cheap thrills. Instead, it focuses on the characters and their reactions to the happenings surrounding them.
But worse part, the film ends in a cliff-hanger. And why should the blood from the radio transmitter?
Here’s the wikipedia story of the film:

The Objective (2008)
Directed by: Daniel Myrick
Starring: Jonas Ball; Matthew R. Anderson; Jon Huertas; Michael C. Williams; Sam Hunter; Jeff Prewett
Talking about soldiers meeting supernatural, I remember another film I saw recently, 'The Objective' (2008). I never heard any buzz about the film, but found it fascinating. Here’s the IMDB plot: "A group of Special Ops Reservists on a mission in the harsh and hostile terrain of Afghanistan find themselves lost in a Middle Eastern "Bermuda Triangle" of ancient evil."
It may sound trite, the film deals with the subject beautifully, though like a good horror film, it never explains anything, but raises too many questions about faith, gods and aliens. Shot in a documentary-style realism, the film has a TV-serial look. That’s the reason probably it did not work. But it’s an interesting film nonetheless.

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