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directed by Kim Jinwon
South Korea 2008

 

Three men and one woman wake up chained in a warehouse with a director and his lackey planning to feature them as victims in a digital video snuff film The victims have had cameras strapped to their heads to catch their own gruesome deaths from their own points of view at the hands of a dim-witted hammer and chainsaw-wielding Leatherface-wannabe in a pig mask. Although the filmmakers (in front of and behind the camera) are suitably repulsive, the victims do not command much sympathy either and the viewer has ceased to care when the twist is introduced in which the nameless, barely glimpsed "protagonist" having to choose between sacrificing himself to save his wife or saving his own skin by giving the burned-out director a creative way to kill his wife. There comes a point less than half-way through the film after the off-screen deaths of the first two victims where the Director says that it wasn't artistic and, therefore, a failure. His cohort replies that it could be sold in other countries such as the US since they're always looking for bloody things. Whether one sees any artistry in it, whether one deems it a failure, it was going to get released, exported, and picked-up anyway and it was going to get watched regardless of criticism (especially when even unrelated films can be misleadingly marketed as "torture porn"). It is not until the end that one realizes that the film is being presented in the fictional mode as the film is neither presented as "found footage" (there is no context for the choice of when the film cuts from one camera to another) nor as a "finished film" (in which one would think the killers would edit their images out) so we are presented with this cynical, mock-gruelling, mock-nihilistic "endurance test" of an unpleasant film. As someone who has not "seen it all," I still get the impression that even those who have seen it all won't be shocked or impressed while viewers assuming that this foreign-language production represents an arty variation on HOSTEL and the like will be sorely disappointed.

Eric Cotenas

Theatrical Release:

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DVD Review: Palisades Tartan - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:14:51
Video

1.76:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.34 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio Korean (Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.76:1

Edition Details:
• Alternate Ending (16:9; 2:09)
• THE BUTCHER behind the scenes photo gallery
• Storyboard Sketches
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 1:10)
• Trailers for SHEITAN and P (4:3; 3:51), LADY VENGENACE and PRINCESS (16:9; 3:24)

DVD Release Date: October 27th, 2009
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

Palisades Tartan's DVD is progressive and anamorphic with a consistent clarity of focus and exposure that undermines the verisimilitude of the snuff aesthetic as it is fabricated here (consumer digital video cameras strapped to the heads of the victims taking as much of a beating as the characters). THE BUTCHER's original audio track is 2.0 stereo so that track is not a downmix and without a 5.1 track, there is no usual DTS track found on most Tartan releases but one could argue that anything more than 2.0 would not be in keeping with the film's aesthetic.

An alternate ending (a Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque tag to the film's ending) and trailer are the only contextual video extras. The "making of" and storyboard extras are both still galleries. Trailers for four other Palisades Tartan DVDs are the only extras (though unlike the old Tartan releases, the trailers are not individually playable).

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Palisades Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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