Director: Lee Jung-ho
Cast: Uhm Jung-hwa, Ryu Seung-ryong, Lee
Do-kyung, Cho Jin-woong
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: GV & Encore Films
Rating: PG (Some Violence and Disturbing
Official Website: http://www.encorefilms.com/bestseller
Opening Day: 14 October 2010
stars Uhm Jung-hwa as a best-selling author Baek Hee-soo,
who gets accused of plagiarism and finds herself unable to
write anything for two years. Faced with the concurrent blow
of her marriage breaking down, Hee-soo escapes to a remote
cabin with her young daughter Yeun-hee, who begins talking
to an unidentified figure there. Dying for a new source of
inspiration, Hee-soo uses the stories that her daughter hears
from this 'imaginary friend' in her new book, which turns
into a bestseller that sparks her comeback to the literary
world. Lightning strikes twice as the material from Hee-soo’s
new book is claimed to be similar to that found in a book
written ten years ago. In order to extricate herself from
the plagiarism charges, she heads back to the cabin to investigate
and seek out the truth as some horrifying secrets lay in wait
If you are here only for just a horrific experience, please expect more because Bestseller is definitely not just another K-horror/thriller!
This latest K-horror/thriller written and directed by Lee Jung-ho has received much attention at the 14th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival held in Korea in July this year. In fact, one of the awards, European Fantastic Film Festival Asian Award, went to this film. Unmistakably, this film is somewhat captivating hence making it award-worthy.
If you are one of those K-drama fans, you probably find Uhm Jung-Hwa familiar as she was the main actress in one of the popular series, Get Karl! Oh Soo Jung. She has been active in the entertainment industry since the 90s and has gained popularity steadily over the years as her portrayals of her diversified roles have always been pretty realistic and attracted many. She is definitely one of the more well-known and outstanding actresses in South Korea. Hence, her dedication to the role of desperate author Baek Hee-soo, exhausting every single brain cell for her comeback title, translated to a very convincing and intriguing rendition in this movie. To fit the appearance of an exasperated and fluttered person, she even lost 7kg! This, coupled with the perplexing plot, has made the impression on the audience.
The plot itself is a pretty elaborated one; it has multi dimensions to it. From beginning by setting a good mood and tone to the movie, to providing a brief yet crucial background of the exasperated author, to allowing us to journey with the author to her writing expedition, to uncovering the mystery to her second plagiarism accusation… etc. all these were good foundation that build towards the suspense and the climax of the movie, which was the honest truth behind the happenings. These hold the audiences’ anticipation up high, as it was an atypical kind of horror. We are not exclusively talking about evil spirits and hideous monsters anymore; we are confronted with issues that make us question whether or not we should assume the best of all humankind. Then, it brings us to the twist of the story. And in fact, this unanticipated twist to the story made it even more enticing to watch.
That being said, after the turning point, the flaws of the movie begin to surface. No matter how desperate, one would think that it is illogical for a person to risk her life to uncover the truth knowing that there is potential danger. What more if she does not render any legal help, but instead carry out her independent investigations? Also, it is also after this turning point that the classic gore and blood that is inherent in almost every other K-horror/thriller begin to take over. Killing occurs one after another, without much development from the characters involved anymore. We are then driven to watch, only because we want to get to the end. Then also, it seemed like everyone was possessed, with everything going haphazardly. That is to be assumed and inferred by the audience. Thankfully, the mystery was resolved in a pretty brilliant way. The execution may not have been the best, yet we cannot deny that the film has made it to the end gracefully.
Overall, with such aptitude, the film has served up a new platter for the horror/thriller movie goers. Perhaps the K-horror/thriller movies are on the rise again.
(Be intrigued, be fearful, for the bestseller is here!)
Review by Tho Shu Ling