Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Killer Toon: Death By Webcomics
those fuddy-duddies at the Comics Code Authority were not completely off-base
regarding the corrupting influence of comic books. Take for instance Kang Ji-yoon’s webcomics. Her lurid depictions of supernatural vengeance
are certainly popular, but they also seem to be coming true in real life. How
exactly does she get her ideas? That
will be the question in Kim Young-gyun’s Killer
opens today in Los Angeles at the CGV Cinemas.
is not great when it comes to deadlines, so her editor Seo Mi-sook is initially
quite relieved to finally receive her latest comic via e-mail. Then she starts reading it. Oddly, the first panels self-referentially
depict her working late on the very same webcomic, but then flashes back to her
deepest, darkest secret. A malevolent
presence starts terrorizing the understandably freaked out Seo, eventually
forcing her to commit suicide, both in the comic and real life.
to the call, Detective Lee Ki-cheol finds Seo’s body and the suspicious comic open on her computer. Having
evidently never seen a horror movie before, he decides this could be a career
making case. Logically, Kang becomes
their prime suspect after she mysteriously arrives on the scene of another
ostensive suicide foretold in her comics, at least until yet another interested
party kidnaps her.
the E.C. Comics that obviously inspired it, everyone is guilty of something in Toon and therefore has it coming to some
extent. Combining live action with
liberal samples of Kang’s work presented in a motion comic style, Kim’s film
clearly evokes Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt, but it takes the
concept even further.
a result, Toon looks very cool, but
it has a unfortunate habit of contradicting itself. In fact, it seems compulsively driven to pull
late inning switcheroos with the true nature of a primary character that simply
become exhausting. Still, Kim
consistently maintains the heavy atmosphere of portent, slickly transitioning
between Kang’s comics and the film’s objective reality. The past clearly haunts the present,
regardless of the exact nature of the machinations at work.
probably his darkest role to date, musical theater veteran Um Ki-joon is surprisingly
good as Det. Lee, an arrogant and ambitious man, but not a dumb flatfoot by any
stretch. Likewise, popular rom-com movie
star Lee Si-young is quite the convincing basket case as the gruesome graphic
novelist. Kim Do-young’s ill-fated
editor makes a memorable opening scene victim and Hyun Woo is also appropriately
cold and clammy as Det. Lee’s twitchy junior.
boasts a strong ensemble and a darkly stylish look. Unfortunately, screenwriter Lee Sang-hak’s
adaptation of Lee Hoo-kyung’s novel just doesn’t always add up. There are far too many “wait, why did”
moments. Still, for fans of horror
movies and comics, there is some fun stuff to be found here, as well as some
hardcore retribution to keep them on the straight-and-narrow. Recommended for genre enthusiasts who value
visual flair over narrative logic, Killer
Toon opens today (7/12) in LA, at the CGV Cinemas.
Labels: Horror Movies, Korean Cinema