The Quiet Family – Joyonghan Gajok – 1998
The construction of an important road on the mountains renders the hotel business very attractive for a family that decides to run an inn. But the road construction is postponed and customers do not show up. When finally luck appears to be changing, for some reason the guests have difficulty surviving the night. Their first guest commits suicide and so does the couple arriving the next night. Afraid of ruin, the family reaches the conclusion that it is better to keep some shovels around, and start burying one body after the other.
This is the debut film of beloved director Kim Ji-Woon (see also: A Tale Of Two Sisters) and falls into a category that i admire particularly: dark comedy. That is not only because i’ve been a really goth teenager in my past, but mostly since it has the power to combine two of the best things in the world, horror and laughter. Kim Ji-Woon‘s style is at an early stage and yet already amusing, the set design, use of rich colors, and innovative camera-work are spectacular and largely responsible for the eerie atmosphere. Also, the family uncle is the one and only Choi Min-Sik(the protagonist of Oldboy).. which is only a plus. His presence would make any movie interesting by default.
Many of you oriental movie lovers already saw this movie without even knowing it. It was in fact remade by Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) as a stop animation/musical in 2001, under the name of The Happiness Of The Katakuris. This is one of the extremely rare times where i won’t bash a remake, and i have a very good reason to stop me. Just a few words about this remake: singing and dancing bloody zombies. Amazing!
All in all, The Quiet Family sets a peculiar balance between humor and suspense. It’s funny and tense all at the same time, from start to finish. Visually appealing, interesting characters, and lots of bloody corspes being buried at night. What’s not to love?