Produced by H.R. Chang, Stanley Kim.
Directed, written by K.C. Park, based on the online novel by Lee Woo-hyuk. Camera (color), Park Hyeon-cheol; editor, Lee Hyang-mi; music, Lee Don-jun; art director, Shim Sang-uk. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival, South Korea, Sept. 30, 1998. (Also in Cannes Film Festival — market.) Original title: Toema rog. Running time: 96 MIN.
With: Ahn Sung-ki, Shin Hyeon-jun, Chu Sang-mi, Oh Hyeon-chul.
Anything Hong Kong can do, South Korea can do better is the message behind “The Soul Guardians,” an effects-laden hit in South Korea last year based on a popular online novel begun in 1993. Though the script doesn’t bear close examination and the storyline is a tad jerky, this has plenty of potential as a latenight fest item, with video to follow in Western markets.
Seung-heui (Chu Sang-mi) is an impossibly beautiful car mechanic haunted by dreams and strange events — hardly surprising, as she was born during the mass suicide of a satanic cult 20 years ago. When ghostbusters Father Park (veteran matinee idol Ahn Sung-ki) and Jun-hu (Oh Hyeon-chul) realize the devil plans to plant a demon seed in her womb, they swing into action. The tenebrous-looking pic has almost no loose flesh as action piles on action, heightened by tight cutting, a rhapsodic, Morricone-ish score and some eight minutes of CGI effects (a record for a Korean movie). Former NYU film student K.C. Park (Park Kwang-chun) had been an assistant director on the local f/x smash “The Gingko Bed” (1996), and it shows. Perfs are all hard-jawed.