Review: RV: RESURRECTED VICTIMS Is A Consequential Thriller That Supercedes The Paranormal

The one interesting thing with Champion and Typhoon helmer Kwak Kyung-Taek's latest, RV: Resurrected Victims, is how long it took to be seen by audiences. Production wrapped in late 2015 and finally had its theatrical run in Korea last October, so as much a mystery as it is, folks can still move forward and bask in the mystery and intrigue that Kwak invites per the narrative based from the 2012 literary, "It Is Over".

The film certainly goes out of its way to ground itself in realism as amply as possible, which sort of makes suspending any disbelief something of a challenge. Audible breaking news reports set the pace throughout as the film immerses deep in an intricate, layered crime pic that delves into a world where corpses are inexplicably resurrected years after death. "Expert" opinion suggests that vengeance and retribution are the reason for this, which leads us to the core tale of Seo Jin-Hong (Kim Rae-Won), a high-profile prosecutor who now finds himself the target of Choi Myung-Sook (Kim Hae-Sook), his reawakened mother seven years after her murder on a rainy afternoon.

What ensues is story that teeters a bit in adding the further layers but manages to balance things out in the second half as the film further explores the phenomena and its continued mystique as Seo takes matters into his own hands. Forced to play politics with his superior, Son Young-Tae (Sung Dong-Il), questions pile onto themselves as Seo gets closer to the truth in his inquiry while inspector Lee Soo-Hyun (Jeon Hye-Jin) conducts her own search for answers when the case involving Jin-Hong reaches her desk, and ultimately, Seo's sister, Seo Hee-Jung (Jang Young-Nam). Supernatural occurances take shape and with it, the elusive truth, setting the stage for an explosive climax that adds a dose of poignance and bittersweet resolve to an otherwise grim and gruesome tale that definitely borders on the supernatural.

Setting aside the creative intent on behalf of the filmmakers, much credit goes to the rainy weather that occurred in 2015 during principal photography. Whether or not Kwak intended it so, it certainly serves helpful in sustaining the overall mood of the film next to other plot various devices. The cast is lined with solid performances; few of which namely include that of Jang's, whose semi-unstable and emotional nature further outlines that of her family in whole - one intently and clearly built on a system of devout faith and indicated as such early on in the film.

Action and spectacle are doled out in measured moments of intensity from a single hallway scuffle to a footchase, and several automotive stunt sequences in the film. These scenes mainly occur with the continued unraveling of the real enigma that Jin-Hong faces, which ultimately renders the more paranormal aspects of the story a bit nonpareil, as paramount it is in Kwak's stormy milleu of injustice, retribution and redemption.

Lows mostly lie with how tedious things get midway in the film's progression. This shouldn't be too much of an issue if following the plot doesn't prove too difficult while embracing some of the more bleak turning points of the film. Young actress Lee Ji-Won plays pivotal in this regard as Myung Eun-Ji who recurs in the film with purposeful resonance in the film's finale, indicative of a story that does as much of what it can with its fantastical context before segueing into its dramatic close.

As a film meant to lure in fans of horror and suspense, there's only so much it can accomplish before it starts to feel a little contrived. It does take a just little while for the movie to find its footing which makes things much more tolerable and the film, indeed, plenty watchable and enjoyable through the start of end credits.

Much to its own appeal, RV: Resurrected Victims makes fantastic use of its central hook to present a stimulating thriller that doesn't meander too much into itself despite its somewhat practical lean from time to time. Nor does it assuage too much for certain sensibilities, In Korean fashion, Kwak certifies a suspenseful telling of otherworldly resolve and certain justice in the wake of lost innocence, and even moreso, one of staunch motherhood that truly faith to the test - be it in this realm or the next - in a very intriguing way.


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