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directed by Sang-hoon Ahn
South Korea 2006

 

When a reclusive young man dies mysteriously after receiving an email to a webpage about a seaside salt-mining village, just-back-from-suspension detective So-young (Song Yun-ah) and her rookie partner Hyun-ki (Lee Dong-wook) discover that the victim had been institutionalized after killing a man and had been seeing a psychiatrist because of delusions of a woman in black with long hair tormenting him. Also suspicious is the group of his now prominent former friends who all made deposits into the victim's bank account to support his solitary lifestyle. When those men start dying in similar ways (the coroner determines that their heart attacks were caused by a deadly gas that seems to originate from within rather than being ingested), So-young travels to the village and discovers that a supposedly haunted salt storage shack and learns that the man killed by the recluse was the boyfriend of a teenage girl who subsequently disappeared mysteriously and is believed to have committed suicide. With victims dropping one by one, So-young and Hyun-ki race to discover the link between the deaths, the persecuting woman in black, and the missing girl but (for a change) things are really not what they seem... Not really "CSI meets THE GRUDGE" as quoted on the back cover of the DVD, ARANG is an Asian horror flick told from the perspective of the detectives rather than the potential victims. That said, while the mystery element is more diverting than in other Asian horror flicks, the scare element is much more routine and decidedly unscary (usual long-haired ghost appearing over shoulders, in mirrors, in small spaces, as well as a ghost child too). The twists thrown in around the perfunctory "find the hidden corpse" are surprising for a horror flick but a bit contrived for the thriller genre and just as we're about to accept the film and its obligatory surprise ending denouement on their own terms and forget about asking what "arang" means, up pops a text screen. The subtitles translate the heading as "The Legend of Arang" but then does not bother to translate the legend itself before rolling the end credits. As such, ARANG is stuck somewhere between being a change of pace and more of the same.

Eric Cotenas

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Theatrical Release: 28 June 2006 (South Korea)

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DVD Review: Tartan - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:37:51
Video

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.63 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 DTS 5.1; Korean Dolby Digital 5.1; Korean Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English, Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with director and cast (in Korean with English subtitles)
• Making of ARANG (4:3; 34:24)
• Behind the Scenes (4:3; 29:33)
• Interview with the Cast (4:3; 3:13)
• Interview with the Music Director (4:3; 13:25)
• Deleted Scenes (4:3; 12:58)
• Trailer (4:3; 2:06)
• Trailers for THE GHOST, CINDERELLA, SHUTTER, THE MAID, and THE CELLO.

DVD Release Date: 8 May 2007
Amaray

Chapters 15

 

Comments

The image on Tartan's DVD is anamorphic and dual-layer but not progressive (though it does not appear to be a PAL-NTSC transfer) which looks fine on regular TV sets but combing will be evident on progressive monitors.

The R1 DVD translates the bulk of the extras from the OOP Korean 2 disc (compressed onto a single disc) including the audio commentary and drops a music video, short film, and a few smaller extras. The Korean track is presented here in half-bitrate DTS, Dolby Digital 5.1, and a stereo downmix which are all enveloping.
 

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Tartan

Region 1 - NTSC

 




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