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PHOTOGRAPHY

SPDIER FOREST

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 120 minutes, cast interviews, behind-the-scenes featurette, original theatrical trailer, four deleted scenes, photo gallery, and Tartan previews

STUDIO: Tartan/ CJ Entertainment/ Egg Films/ Oak Films

RELEASE DATE: 10-25-2005

SPIDER FOREST is one part mystery and one part ghost story. The film is like a South Korean hybrid of a film noir and an Atom Egoyan film. It starts like a murder mystery that unfolds in flashback from the tense opening ten minutes. Then during the halfway point, it starts to hit you with the ghost story angle as we hear more about the myth of the Spider Forest. The Spider Forest is a place where ghosts turn into spiders if no one remembers them, but they are set free when someone remembers them. The big question as TV studio producer Kang Min tries to recover fragments of his memory are what events does he relate are the truth or confused bits as his memory tries to sort itself out. A friend of his, a police detective, tries to find out who killed Kang Min's girlfriend and who is the mysterious woman (the same one that tells the story about the Spider Forest) who worked at a one hour photo shop in a small town. SPIDER FOREST is a film that engaged me from start to finish. It is the kind of movie that loops back on itself to reveal the shocking truth. The mystery had me on the edge as I felt for the mess that Kang Min's life had become from the death of his wife in a plane crash to his heavy drinking that causes him to be such a screw-up according to his creepy boss who would screw over anyone or anything to get the job done. However, the best part of SPIDER FOREST is the revealing of Kang Min's past and how the myth of Spider Forest ties into that.

VIDEO: 1.85:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

Image detail is good, but a few scenes are riddled with aliasing.

AUDIO: Korean 5.1 Dolby Digital, Korean 5.1 DTS, Korean 2.0 DS

Subtitles: English, Spanish

The best 5.1 DD track I have heard on a Tartan DVD so far.

SPECIAL FEATURES: My favorite extra are the four deleted scenes (about 13 minutes total) and the scenes put some developments in the back story in a different light. Two theatrical trailers are also included. I do think the behind-the-scenes featurette and the three cast interviews could have been edited down and edited together in a really great featurette. In their present form, the featurette and interviews are too long.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A unique mystery tale that is worth watching. SPIDER FOREST is one of the bets from South Korea.

this review is (c)7-21-2006 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