Posts Tagged ‘Sim Eun-kyung’

The Grimm fairytales are not the sweet, colourful stories most of us grew up with – the original versions are dark, bloody and far more disturbing. But it would seem they have nothing on the South Koreans, who take an already sinister story and somehow manage to make it more unpleasant.

The tale begins with a distracted man having a car accident. Eun-soo (Jeong-myeong Cheon) is revived in a dense forest by a girl (Sim Eun-kyung) in a red hood. She leads him back to her house, which she calls the “House of Happy Children.” Young Hee lives there with her brother Manbok (Eun Won-jae), sister Jung Soon (Ji-hee Jin) and their parents. There appears to be something not entirely right with the picture-perfect family but what is unclear. However, when Eun-soo seeks to reconnect with the outside world, their true natures reveal themselves.

The actors, particularly the children, are very confident and effective in their roles. Eun-kyung is particularly striking and well-casted as her childish face is in direct contrast to her more experienced eyes. Cheon is also exceptionally sincere.

The house looks very surreal. Its existence in the middle of the forest is both unexpected but necessary. The bizarreness of the house is only intensified by its seclusion. The interior is filled with so many toys, it is reminiscent of Santa’s workshop; but at the same time, there are too many toys for the home to be normal. The house’s dreamlike impression is established not just through dressing but the unreal and excessive display of vibrant, warm colours.

There is a consistent and underlying feeling of creepiness throughout the narrative. It begins as soon as the first child appears on screen and does not slack until the conflict is resolved. Director Yim Pil-sung successfully maintains this sinister atmosphere with only the tiniest of details at the start, inflating them as their sources becomes clearer.

The story takes a startling turn just prior to the finale. The picture is drained of colour and the audience is taken into the past. The children’s story actually began in a revolting orphanage. And even though it is a scene in this flashback that actually relates the tale to the title fairytale, its contrast to the rest of the film is so concentrated it feels like an entirely different movie.