Review: ‘Doctor’

"Doctor" is so devoid of imagination, taste or style that it's inferior to the most pedestrian K-horror.

A psycho plastic surgeon who kills with Botox reps the sort of high concept that could channel Cronenbergian body-horror. Unfortunately, as helmed by Kim Sung-hong, “Doctor” is so devoid of imagination, taste or style that it’s inferior to the most pedestrian Korean thrillers. The pic’s indiscriminate gore and punishing treatment of women will sadly excite certain auds and anesthetize them to a setup as artificial as silicon implants. Pic will score on Asian genre ancillary, with long-shot remake possibilities.

Plastic surgeon Choi In-bum (Kim Chang-wan) catches his pretty young wife, Soon-jung (Bae So-eun), in flagrante with beefy gym trainer Yong-kwan (Seo Gun-woo). He soon starts putting his murderous hallucinations into practice on clients and nurses. The violence, of the slash-and-clobber variety, never capitalizes on the protag’s power to alter the human form, an idea that could spawn intriguing grotesquerie. The hasty pacing leaves no room for atmospherics, and despite eventual revelation of Choi’s dark past, his consistently maniacal behavior diminishes the surprise factor and arouses no sympathy for his being a cuckold. The twist ending is more trite than chilling. Tech credits, like the film, lack refinement.

Doctor

South Korea

Production

A Nomad Film Co. release and production. Produced by Cha Seung-jai, Hwang Kyung-sung, Cho Han-joo. Directed by Kim Sung-hong.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Kim Chul-joo; editor, Kyung Min-ho. Reviewed on DVD, Busan, South Korea, Oct. 13, 2012. (In Busan Film Festival -- Gala Presentation.) Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Kim Chang-wan, Bae So-eun, Seo Gun-woo.

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