Thursday, April 28, 2011


End of Animal (짐승의 끝)

End of Animal Like best buddies, horror and sci-fi genres tend to hang out together in a film. It is logical, because we as human have an instinct fear toward unknown, while unknown is what sci-fi deals the best—it only uses imagination. Writer/director Jo Sung-hee (조성희) composes his imagination in his impressive directorial debut "End of Animal" (짐승의 끝 | South Korea 2010 | in Korean | 114 min.). This gripping film never stops bringing in more intriguing moments that make your head spin and give you goose bumps.

A pregnant young woman Sun-yeong (Lee Min-ji) takes a taxi to her mom's place for the delivery. The cab is stopped by a hooded young man (Park Hae-il) who wants to share the ride. But he does not appear to be a random stranger, because he seems to know both the taxi driver (Kim Young-ho) and Sun-yeong very well, especially about their secrets. He claims that "the wind from the sun will blow out the light, and the angels with sharp teeth will come down to earth" when he finishes his count down. Sure enough, everything stops with a white bang.

When Sun-yeong wakes up, she finds herself in an apocalyptic environment. She wanders into an empty nearby village, desperately hoping to find a phone to contact her mother. Nothing works. No one is around, until a lost boy (Park Sae-jong) and a villager on a bicycle (Yoo Sung-mok) show up. However, they are not really the ones she hopes who can help her to get away from the mysterious man in the hood and to get out this chilling mess. Everything only gets worse.

Lee Min-Ji in Jo Sung-hee's END OF ANIMAL

Jo Sung-hee effectively crafts engaging and terrifying scenes one after another to keep you on your toes. He seems interested more in displaying the dramatic tension among these characters during an arduous situation, than explaining why certain things happen and how. Perhaps in an apocalyptic stage, reasoning is not what people concern the most.

Sun-yeong, and everyone else in the film, is obsessed about going to a rest area to make a contact to the outside world. However, if nothings works in the village, how can they be so sure that the rest area is business as usual? Nobody knows. Anywhere else probably looks better than this terrifying domain that Jo Sung-Hee creates with his imagination.

The 54th San  Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 - May 5, 2011 "End of Animal" (짐승의 끝) is showing at The 54th San Francisco International Film Festival, April 21 - May 5, 2011. Click on the SFiFF54 logo on the right for showtime and ticket information.


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