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Two Moons - Movie Poster
Original Title:
Doo Gae-eui Dal

South Korea 2012

Horror, Mystery

Kim Dong-bin

Park Han-byeol
Kim Ji-seok
Park Jin-joo
Ra Mi-ran
Jeong Won
Lee Jong-yoon
Park Won-sang

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Two Moons

aka The Sleepless

Story: Seok-ho (Kim Ji-seok) wakes up in a shed. Right next to him sits the scared schoolgirl In-jeong (Park Jin-joo). Both have no idea how they got to this place. So-hee (Park Han-byeol), who wakes up along with them, assures that she doesn't know what happened either. The three leave the shed and find themselves in front of a cabin in the woods. There seems to be no one around at the cabin, but there are strange sounds that can be heard. Seok-ho and In-jeong want to leave the forest, but they have no luck doing so. So they join So-hee who wanted to wait until dawn from the very beginning. The three try to find out what connects them, but especially So-hee seems to be keeping a secret. She constantly vanishes and also keeps the other two from entering a certain room of the cabin. Something isn't right and suddenly another woman (Ra Mi-ran) turns up, who calls So-hee a murderer. However, all of them start to completely doubt their sanity when they see two moons at the night sky...

Review: Yes, there still isn't a lot going on in the K-horror genre. But "Two Moons" isn't such a bad entry. It may be true that the picture isn't that original, but particularly at the beginning it manages to build up a nice mystery atmosphere and for most part refrains from showing ghosts with long black hair. We either get to see the ghosts completely or really just a shadow of them. Also appealing is the fact that there is put more focus on shamanist aspects of the ghost story. Talismans and spells are thus used as well. As the movie's title already hints at and we are additionally told by two girls at the beginning (serving as some kind of framework story?), the movie takes place in a world in between where you can see two moons.

Two Moons - Film Screenshot 11

This creates a good framework to bring a special kind of fear factor into the film. The initial guesswork also works very well. So-hee seems to be hiding something, but she surely isn't the only one. Something is off with all of the characters and there are always enough revelations or developments to keep you at it. There are almost no cheap scare moments, "Two Moons" rather makes use of its atmosphere. Towards the end the horror flick shows signs of weakness, particularly when the pacing picks up without anything really happening. The ghost crawling on its back isn't really a convincing sight either. ACcordingly, the movie is the most effective when the story leaves us in the dark and delivers only a few pieces of information every now and then.

Two Moons - Film Screenshot 12

We get that information in the shape of flashbacks, whereas some of them turn out to be wrong. This constitutes a big part of the movie's appeal and this approach is also wise, because apart from the aforementioned the story hasn't much to offer. Yet, of what there is, there is made use of the best way possible, although there certainly are some flaws. Especially when it comes to the characters, who all look pretty shallow and as the movie goes on become more and more unnerving. Seo-hee, embodied by Park Han-byeol ("Wishing Stairs"), can't serve as the film's heroine for quite a while since her secret-mongering is irritating. Her supernatural powers, which probably are supposed to make her appear as one of the good guys, aren't really making a difference here. Kim Ji-seok ("Eye for an Eye") on the other hand irritates with a character that undergoes an odd transformation.

However, particularly pesky is the schoolgirl, played by Park Jin-joo ("Sunny"), who is constantly helpless and whimpering, thus being the perfect first victim. But that's where the movie surprises. The extremely hackneyed setting, namely the characters waking up at a cabin in the woods, not being able to get away from there, doesn't mean at all that the rest of the film is absolutely predictable, too. Of course, a lot of the story's developments can be guessed and there isn't really anything you could call a big revelation, it's more that those revelations are introduced to us continuously, but considering the apparently low production costs of a movie like "Two Moons" there are actually a few nice ideas that can be surprising. They more than anywhere else become apparent in the tense atmosphere, dimly lit sets and a gloomily, but also cozily furnished cabin.

Two Moons - Film Screenshot 13

"Two Moons" surely is no masterpiece of the genre, but its ending manages to please, if it weren't for the two girls, who explain the ending for all those cognitively handicapped... The tense thriller-like atmosphere, that results from a handful of individuals having to deal with one another in a restricted space, inevitably leading to psychological strain, blends in well with the otherworldly horror-heavy moments. Some of the acting efforts aren't that convincing and all in all there is a lack of horror moments. Moreover, director Kim Dong-bin ("Red Eye") simply didn't make use of the potential that lies in the otherworldly setting. Apart from that "Two Moons", running less than 90 minutes, is a atmospherically tense horror thriller that will appeal to genre fans.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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