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Original Title:
Haeboo hakkyosil

South Korea 2007


Son Tae-woong

Han Ji-min
Oh Tae-kyeong
On Joo-wan
Jin Yoo-yeong
Jo Min-ki
Moon Won-joo
Chae Yoon-seo
Choi Hye-jeong
Ye Hak-yeong
Seo Young-hwa
Park Jeong-gi
Park Cheon-hwan
Jeong Chan

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The Cut

aka Cadaver

Story: Sun-hwa (Han Ji-min) and her friends, among them Ki-bum (Oh Tae-gyung) who seemingly has some interest in Sun-hwa, finally start their semester at a medical elite university. For the first time they are allowed to dissect a real dead body, but their professor Dr. Han (Jo Min-ki), who is also called "the technician", just gives them the creeps. Moreover, something seems to be wrong with their corpse, which has a tattoo in the shape of a rose on its chest.
Then, one day, someone of Sun-hwa's group is murdered under mysterious circumstances. The police investigates the case, and it seems as if someone working or studying at the university is responsible for the murder, as the victim's heart is missing. Sun-hwa and her friends also realize that they all share the same dream of a limping, one-eyed doctor. Is the ghost of the corpse they are dissecting taking revenge for something? But what has all of this to do with them, and how does the one-eyed doctor fit into the picture? Sun-hwa and her friends, who one after another fall victim to the ghost, try to unravel the past of the girl with the rose-tattoo, before there is no one to investigate the case anymore.

Review: "The Cut" is yet another film in a series of Korean horror flicks, that try to dinstance themselves from the most obvious clichés of the genre, like the long-haired ghost. But this one only succeeds to a very small degree. Director Son Tae-woong's work wants to be a mix of a supernatural horror film and a bit of a slasher, which I will simply call anatomy-horror. And I'm not really that much of a fan of the latter horror genre, since I absolutely dislike anything that has to do with scalpels and surgery, which also should have been a bonus for the movie in giving me some goose bumps. Sadly there is zippo, nada, bupkis. The path "The Cut" tries to take may look promising at first, but eventually the movie fails because of a convoluted story, bumpy twists and a list of plot holes I could write about forever. If you still happen to be in the know at the end, you might have missed something, as there is no way you could interpret a logically seclusive plot into the movie.

The slasher elements of the film can't be overlooked. Interestingly, or sadly I should say, there aren't any direct scenes of bloody violence to be scene, even though there are scalpels involved in the killing scenes, yet the movie is full of clichés of the slasher genre. That's also pretty apparent when it comes to the characters. Among them are a girl, for which I just can't come up with a better term than "superficial bitch", a fat, fearful idiot, a nerd an so #on. These are all individuals of whom we already know from the start that they have almost no chance of surviving this movie.
Furthermore, there is also Kin-bum standing at Sun-hwa's side, one of the few people we consider to have a slight chance of hanging on until the end as he depicts something like Sun-hwa's boyfriend. A real love story, however, is nothing you will find here. But at least there is an implied one, even though it always seems perfunctory and artificially worked into the film last minute.

Apart from all that, there are some nice shocking moments in "The Cut". Unfortunately, they remain a rarity. In fact, there isn't much to be scared of, only the scenes at the autopsy room are, naturally, appealing concerning the mood and are also extremely creepy. To raise the horror bar in this scene the disturbing and nerve-racking sound of steel tables being pulled over a steel floor is added. Actually it's that easy to send shivers down the audience's spine. Nonetheless, there are only few scenes that work out so well that they can make your blood run cold. To be exactly there is only one, and the rest gives you merely some mild shivers.
Maybe it wouldn't have hurt the movie, if the filmmakers would have worked less with the supernatural horror, but instead more with the psychological, resp. more human horror. Isn't this the obvious thing to do, when making a film about dissecting? But "The Cut" simply unnecessarily passes up opportunities. There actually is a "human monster" at the university, but the director makes only little to none use of it.

You also will get a feeling of familiarness, when Sun-hwa and her remaining friends look into the past of the dead girl, investigating the events that might have lead to her restlessness. And once again you have to ask yourself why the dead girl's ghost just doesn't take revenge on the real culprit responsible for her death right away, but instead kills off some students first. This all doesn't make much sense and especially towards the end there are some deaths, that somehow feel forced and unnecessary.
Anyway, there are also a few other inept happenings, e.g. when the murderer of human origin tries to get rid of a student by ramming a scalpel through his shoulder! A killer, of whom we know that he has detailed knowledge about the vital spots on the human body, suddenly just forgets about them? Nevertheless, it gets worse than this during the last half hour, in which we are presented with one plot turn after the next, whereas none of the supposedly resolving answers fit into the rest of the picture. The script is so convoluted that it gets entangled in its own pseudo-complex story, so that nothing is making any sense, eventually. A very frustrating experience.

At least, the director can score a few points with some nice camera work. One especially well-made camera movement, a shot which is seemingly also done without a single cut, can be found when one of Sun-hwa's friends goes mad. The conversation between the different protagonists, the tracking shot along the several floors of the university accommodation and the dialogues in particular create exceptionaly well working dynamics, which qualitywise seem way above the rest of the film. Director Son Tae-woong impresses with nice shots and camera movement on other occasions, too. But all of this can't make up for the confusing, screwed up story. Furthermore, there are also some genre clichés in shape of some flashbacks and a little bit of melodrama wrapped up in an unfulfilled love story.
If the story would have made more sense and the characters wouldn't have been that shallow all of the time, "The Cut" could have made for an interesting mix of traditional ghosts-horror and a slasher film. However, as things are this is simply a disappointing movie, that you won't remember for long.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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