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Face

A serial-murder crimer crossed with the Asian psychothriller, "Face" starts off gangbusters but doesn't deliver in its final act. Genre fans will enjoy most of the going but in Western markets this is ancillary fodder, with some exposure indicated at fantasy fests. Amid a rash of other horror movies in South Korea this summer, pic performed just OK in June, with some 500,000 admissions.

With:
With: Shin Hyeon-jun, Song Yun-ah, Kim Seung-wook, Jo Weon-heui, Ahn Seok-hwan, Song Jae-ho.

A serial-murder crimer crossed with the Asian psychothriller, “Face” starts off gangbusters but doesn’t deliver in its final act. Genre fans will enjoy most of the going but in Western markets this is ancillary fodder, with some exposure indicated at fantasy fests. Amid a rash of other horror movies in South Korea this summer, pic performed just OK in June, with some 500,000 admissions.

Shin Hyeon-jun (hawk-eyed star of “Bichunmoo”) plays Lee Hyeon-min, a specialist in modeling faces from skulls. Still strung out from his wife’s death and anxious over his young daughter’s heart operation, he’s prone to sweaty nightmares and visions of ghosts. Reluctantly agreeing to help a cop (Kim Seung-wook) investigate a series of bizarre murders alongside rookie face-restorer Jeong Sun-yeong (Song Yun-ah), he finds his daughter may be carrying an organ related to the serial murders. Direction by Yu Sang-gon is thoroughly pro, ladling on the rain, shadows and stygian atmosphere to sometimes scary effect, but the plotting is weak, with some illogical twists and turns and an over-sudden conclusion.

Popular on Variety

Face

South Korea

Production: A Cinema Service release of a Cinema Service, Taewon Entertainment presentation of a Taewon Entertainment production. (International sales: Cinema Service, Seoul.) Produced by Jeong Tae-weon. Co-producer, Han Yong. Directed by Yu Sang-gon. Screenplay, Park Cheol-heui, developed by Needle Film; adaptation, Kim Heui-jae, Yu, Park Seong-min.

Crew: Camera (color), Choi Ji-yeol; editor, Park Gok-ji; music, Lee Han-na; production designer, Kim Na-yeong. Reviewed on videocassette, London, July 10, 2004. Running time: 84 MIN.

With: With: Shin Hyeon-jun, Song Yun-ah, Kim Seung-wook, Jo Weon-heui, Ahn Seok-hwan, Song Jae-ho.

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