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The Cat - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Gohyangi: Jookeumeul Boneun Doo Gaeeui Noon

South Korea 2011


Byeon Seung-wook

Park Min-yeong
Kim Dong-wuk
Sin Da-eun
Kim Ye-ron
Lee Sang-hee
Jo Seok-hyeon
Seo I-sook

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The Cat

Story: Su-yeon (Park Min-young) suffers from claustrophobia and works at a pet shop that has specialized in fostering cats. One day a woman dies in an elevator under mysterious circumstances. Next to her the police finds the cat Silky. Shortly before that the cat has been groomed by Su-yeon and since Su-yeon is passing by the crime scene and knows one of the policeman, Joon-seok (Kim Dong-wuk), she takes in the cat. However, in the following days strange things happen. Over and over again Su-yeon sees a little girl with a bob cut and her friend Bo-hee (Sin Da-eun) sees that ghost as well. When dead bodies continue to turn up Su-yeon tries to find out what kind of connection there is between the little girl and the cat Silky. The place the cat has initially been found seems to be the key to unraveling the mystery around the eerie encounters of Su-yeon with the ghost of the girl. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

Review: At least no one can blame me for not having tried. But once again the newest Korean summer horror film proves to be incredibly uninspired. This surely doesn't make "The Cat" boring, because by ticking off every item on the list of what should go into an Asian horror movie, it manages to entertain just right, but unfortunately solely those viewers that are completely new to the genre. The secret surrounding the ghost is so incredibly predictable that this may actually be the biggest scare of the film. Considering the title of this genre entry you in fact shouldn't have expected anything else than just another rehash of the well-known horror story revolving around a ghost with long hair, but being served with so many clichés is nonetheless quite astounding.

The Cat - Film Screenshot 11

Accordingly, you don't need half a brain cell to realize that this time cats are possessed by a vengeful ghost. Still, the cats depicted here aren't abominable or horrifying at all. In fact cat lovers will actually be treated with quite some cute specimen on screen. Giving the ghost some oversized cat eyes seriously isn't enough to make you jump off your seat either. It doesn't even need a genre enthusiast to see the next scare in the movie miles in advance. The killings also aren't truely horrifying, only one of them is moderately bloody. Furthermore, Su-yeon may be sitting around scared most of the time, at other times, though, she suddenly becomes extremely brave, especially for someone who suffers from claustrophibia.

The Cat - Film Screenshot 12

What purpose her illness actually serves for the movie remains unclear. Oftentimes she finds herself in closed rooms and it doesn't pose a problem to her, because apparently the scriptwriter temporarily forgot about the mental state of the girl. At other places her illness is used for kicking up the thrill a few notches. Anyway, you actually are constantly wondering why on the one hand Su-yeon is too dumb to open doors and on the other why she doesn't realize that her ridiculous attempts to keep a door open are bound to fail if she faces the powers of a ghost. So why go into a dark boiler room all alone? Sure, because the screenplay tells her to do so...

What the script neglects once again is the elaboration of the characters. It's always the same: A female main character, because they are supposed to be weak and helpless, investigates the reason for the restlessness of a ghost by herself, in order to avoid her own impending death. She is lend a helping hand by a male protagonist, who turns up only when it becomes really ticklish. The implied romance between them is absolutely negligible and the individuals remain completely without colors. Park Min-young is known for her roles in drama series like "I Am Sam" and could give a far more charismatic and convincing performance there. In "The Cat" she has her first and only role in a movie. Standing next to her is Kim Dong-wuk ("Happy Killers") in something a little bit more than a supporting role. Still, their parts could have been given to any other actor and it wouldn't have mattered.

The Cat - Film Screenshot 13

As is often the case with Korean productions of this kind there isn't anything bad to say about the technical realisation. Only a few of the computer-animated cats can't be truely convincing. In the end, there isn't a single moment you are really scared or creeped out since we have seen all of this before. The movie is from the year 2011 and thus you really can expect to get at least a bit more innovation than this. After all, with "Epitaph" and "Hansel and Gretel" Korean filmmakers managed to show that this is possible as well. "The Cat" is therefore only interesting for those horror movie fans that have spent the last ten years under a stone or for real hardcore fans who need to have watched every movie of the genre.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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