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(aka "Bunhongsin" )


directed by Yong-gyun Kim
South Korea 2005


When Sun-jae (Hye-su Kim) discovers her husband cheating on her (it's uncertain whether she is upset that he's having sex with a woman in her bedroom or if it's because he makes her wear his wife's shoes and tells her she looks better in them), she leaves him, taking her spoiled daughter Tae-su (Yeon-ah Park) and her own massive shoe collection with her. They move into a rundown apartment (DARK WATER-style) and Sun-jae races to get her optometrist clinic open so she can support herself and her daughter (who takes dance lessons) without her husband's financial support. When she finds a pair of pink heels on the subway, she takes them home and they cause aggressive behavior between Sun-jae, her best friend, and her daughter. Sun-jae tries to get rid of the shoes but they keep coming back to her. Her boyfriend points out the appearance of the shoes with a beautiful woman on a large banner ad appearing all over the city but when they try to discover the model's identity, they discover the photo used for the ad was over sixty years old and hints at a bloody tragedy involving a ballerina, her choreographer, and his jealous fiancee.

The notion of a pair of pink shoes with a tendency of causing vicious behavior in and then mutilating the unsuspecting women who put them on would seem ludicrous on its own if it were not actually an interesting Asian horror variation on Hans Christian Andersons' fairy tale including its own grislier aspects (with a bit of Cornel Woolrich's story "I'm Dangerous Tonight" thrown in). This updating of the tale's moral on vanity holds up what with Sun-jae's massive shoe collection (when her daughter sees the shoes, she assumes in an annoyed fashion that her mother bought "another" pair of shoes) and the cursed pair seeming first to inspire confidence in the cuckolded woman. Her husband - bastard that he is - asks if she outgrown the color red before telling her to take a detour from her commute to work in the morning and take a pair of red shoes to her daughter's ballet class (a pair that she told her daughter she could not wear). While her daughter's bizarre behavior could be a reaction to being separated from a father that she favors, Sun-jae's own vicious reactions to her daughter coveting the shoes hint at something else. For the first hour and a half, THE RED SHOES is suitably compelling (thanks largely to Hye-su Kim's lead performance) but the ending that goes beyond the usual "discovery of the ghost's remains" is a convoluted let-down despite Kim's and Park's intense acting.

Eric Cotenas


Theatrical Release: 30 June 2005 (South Korea)

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DVD Review: Tartan Video (Tartan Asia Extreme) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Tartan Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:43:40

2.31:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.7 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.


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 Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.31:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by director Kim Yong-gyoon, actress Kim Hye-soo and producer Shin Chang-gil
• Making of THE RED SHOES (4:3; 17:04)
• THE RED SHOES Visual Effects (4:3; 13:47)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 2:11)

DVD Release Date: 24 October 2006

Chapters 12



Tartan's DVD presents an interlaced transfer of the 15-rated theatrical cut of the film which was recut for the theatrical release. The interlacing is annoying as - despite digital color re-grading (when red is present, it still pops including the change to the pink shoes when exerting their deadly influence) - this is a beautifully shot film.

It sports a subtitled commentary by the director, lead actress, and producer as well as the other extras ported over from disc 2 of the Korean release (which also featured the 18 rated director's cut with director/cinematographer commentary but no feature subtitles on disc 2) to the Tartan release. While the Korean set may be a progressive transfer and have better picture quality, it has English subtitles only for the theatrical cut (and none for either commentary or the director's cut). The HK import reportedly has DTS 6.1 but I don't know which version is on the disc.

 - Eric Cotenas


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Tartan Video

Region 1 - NTSC

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