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ARANG

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 98 minutes audio commentary, 10 deleted scenes, 4 featurettes, theatrical trailer, previews

VIDEO: 1.85:1

AUDIO: Korean 5.1, 2.0 Dolby Surround, 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English, Spanish (film only)

STUDIO: Tartan Asia Extreme/ Popcorn Film/ Lotte Entertainment/ The Dream Pictures

RELEASE DTAE: 5-8-2007

If it wasn't for the twist and the mood created by ARANG, it would be just another formulaic South Korean thriller. One quote on the back cover of the DVD declares it as CSI meets THE GRUDGE. It's more cop thriller than horror film. They were trying to steal elements from SE7EN. ARANG is a film of sadness and a journey for a female detective who was raped as a teenager. Detective So-Young is out to find the guy with the scar on his hand (because she wants to kill him), but she never does find him. Instead, she is investigating a series of bizarre murders linked to a couple of murders in a salt village about a decade ago. She is assigned a rookie partner. Each victim receives an email with a link to a web page and then they are visited by a woman with black hair in a black dress right before they die.

What is it with black haired women as the threat in Asian Horror?! It has been overplayed by now. get over it. I do like the twist on the theme that the female detective visits the dead woman in her dreams. The music score is one of the best elements of ARANG. The film is almost worth watching just for the music.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The audio commentary is with the two lead actors, the producer, and the director.  They talk about the film while sometimes not taking things too seriously. THE MAKING OF ARANG is a 34 minutes featurette with more than one chapter. BEHIND THE SCENES has interviews with crew members and show behind-the-scenes footage of the production. INTERVIEW WITH THE CAST is really misleading since it is one cast member and a hairstylist/make-up woman as they recount strange happenings on the set. INTERVIEW WITH THE MUSIC DIRECTOR is a short interview with the composer (he talks about the emotion of the music and finding it) that is padded with stills and clips from ARANG (played to the music from the film). This featurete could have been half the length.

The 10 deleted scenes mostly consist of extended scenes, little character mood moments, and a dropped subplot. Also included is the original theatrical trailer and the usual Tartan Asia Extreme previews (and please get rid of that forced trailer before the menu you can't skip).

FINAL ANALYSIS: I've seen better, but ARANG entertained me for 90 minutes. The DVD has plenty of extras.

this review is (c)5-13-2007 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com