Movie Title: Bloody Reunion / To Sir With Love / Seuseung-ui eunhye
Date Released: August 3rd, 2006
Date Seen: March 31st, 2013
Country of Origin: South Korea
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
This movie was just alright. It starts out great, introducing us slowly to all the players that are going to be involved in this “Bloody Reunion”. It’s a bit drawn out, but I really liked seeing how each of these characters was influenced by their days at elementary school and shaped them. Things, obviously, go wrong, as they start getting killed one by one. It’s still not necessarily an american-style slasher, but it’s the most slasher movie I’ve found from Korean cinema. I enjoyed that aspect of it. Once the movie has really gotten you into wanting to know more and more about these characters, and you’re really familiar with them, shit starts to go down and people start dying. It’s very predictable as to what is going on – but there are some gaping plot holes. There’s even an entire story line that never gets resolved. You keep thinking that this one thing has to come back around, but no. It never does. Once you watch it, you’ll figure it out which plot line I’m talking about.
The gore is pretty intense – in that there’s a lot of blood, what happens to a couple of people is disgusting, but you don’t directly see it. It will cut back and forth, which in my opinion is sometimes worse because then you start to imagine what is really happening. I will say though, that I think the first death is by FAR the worst, so once you get past that one, it’s no where near as bad (but still nasty). There’s a twist at the end that was a nice change to the predictability, but it seemed rushed and messy at the end which kind of make me not like the movie as much. The ending could have been MUCH better. It needed a lot more development, because it just felt like it didn’t fit with how well thought out the whole beginning sequence of the movie was. That was the biggest let down of the whole movie.
If you’re in the mood for a slasher film, and like Asian horror, go ahead and give this one a shot – but again, it’s not too great and it is predictable.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
The movie begins with kids, around 7 looking, doing arts and crafts in class. Their teacher, Miss Park, is very very pregnant. One girl makes the teacher a paper crown, then the kids go outside to play in the water while the teacher sits and watches. She starts bleeding profusely from her vagina, passes out, and is rushed to the hospital. She delivers a seemingly deformed child. We now cut very quickly through the growth of the child, seeing the husband not taking the birth well, never really dealing with the child well, and eventually hanging himself in front of the about 9 year old boy. He has a deformed hand, with short fat fingers, and his face has a big jaw and sticking out teeth.
We now cut to an unknown number of months/years/etc. later and watch two cops looking at a crime. It appears to be in the basement of a building and there is an insanely gruesome scene. 5 bodies, all completely mangled, cut up, in varying stages, and all covered in buckets of blood. The Detective (Eung-soo Kim) goes to the hospital to get some information. He hears that “the old woman” is a regular patient there, who has a problem in her nervous system. The detective asks when “they” will be awake, and finds out that there the younger woman will be awake soon… in fact, the phone rings and that woman is awake. The detective goes to see her, but first gets a phone call from the other cop who tells the Detective that “the woman” raised a deformed child in the basement. He went missing a number of years ago – and if he was still alive, he’d be the same age as the victims. In the hospital room, the younger woman, Nam Mi-ja (Yeong-hie Seo), is crying next to the bed of Miss Park, who is still completely knocked out and on oxygen. The Detective says he know she’s in shock and gives her a handkerchief… then proceeds to stay in the room for an hour, while Mi-ja calms down. He leaves his card saying that he’ll be back in the evening, but Mi-ja tells him to wait – and begins to tell the story of what happened.
Mrs. Park has apparently been in degrading health for a number of years, getting worse and worse. She took Mi-ja in, a year ago, when she had nowhere else to go. She said that that was the happiest they both ever were. Mi-ja wanted to repay Miss Park, so she decided to invite her former students to visit with Miss Park. She’s clearly happy that everyone is on their way – wanting to look pretty for them and trying to hide the signs that she is sick (other than the obvious wheelchair). While Mi-ja helps Mrs. Park get ready, we see flashes of all the students on their way to the house. First to arrive is Myung-ho (Dong-kyu Lee). He is seen driving up smoking, in a beat down car, and seemingly on drugs. He tells Mrs. Park that she needs to live a long time – so that they can “repay her”. Next to arrive are Eun-young (Seol-ah Yu) and Se-ho (Hyeon-Soo Yeo) in a car together. They seem slightly surprised that Myung-ho is there, who comes to greet them. They go inside to greet Mrs. Park, while Myung-ho notices some windows with bars on them at the basement level. Inside the house, Eun-Young and Se-ho tell her that they are getting married and that they would like her blessing, even if she can’t make it to the wedding. Of course she gives it. Eun-young and Mi-ja reminice over some old childhood paintings that are lining the walls in the house. Eun-young can’t believe Mrs. Park kept them. Mi-ja says that “Jung-won” found them – apparently an old classmate, who they always called “Shy guy” who dropped out of school, who still lives in town. Outside, Se-ho kind of jokes to Myung-ho that he can’t believe Mi-ja is here. He implies that having to be with Mrs. Park would be horrible because of her personality, and she’s sick as well. Hmmm. Next, we see Dar-bong (Hyo-jun Park) on his way there. He is in the back of a truck, seemingly hitching a ride. They drop him off at the end of a road and he starts walking. A red car, with an exceedingly well dressed and groomed woman speeds past him, but then pulls back and tells him to get in – she knows Dar-bong’s name. He doesn’t recognize her – she is apparently “Super Pig” Soon-he (Ji-hyeon Lee). She tells him to drop the nickname (of super pig) and they speed off towards the house. When they arrive – everyone recognizes Dar-bong, but no one, not even Mrs. Park recognizes Soon-he. Mrs. Park applauds the weight loss that Soon-he has had. Dar-bong comes in and Mrs. Park calls him the athletic funny one, then both Dar-bong and Soon-he bow in front of her saying that they hope she lives a long time. As Dar-bong gets down, he has obvious problems with his leg. Mrs. Park asks what is wrong and Dar-bong is surprised she doesn’t remember – he was doing squats all day one day, then hurt his leg the next day – but it was entirely his fault. Mrs. Park seems confused, and that she doesn’t remember. Dar-bong kind of looks upset and says “it’s ok it was my fault…”. Soon-he jumps into Mrs. Park for a hug, seemingly getting the conversation off that topic.
In the kitchen, Se-ho finds some homemade raspberry wine that Mi-ja made. He asks to try some and Mi-ja says she just made it for fun anyway, since there’s no one drink there, so go ahead. Outside, she sees a very quiet shy looking boy walk up carrying a basket. It is Jung-won, the shy guy that left school. Mi-ja brings him to join the group though he is clearly still very shy. Dar-bong and Soon-he go play in the beach water nearby, while Myung-ho watches, smoking a cigarette. Jung-won also sits at the beach, but not playing. Myung-ho and Jung-won share a strange glance at each other. Mrs. Park watches them all from the balcony – then goes hunting in an old room of her house for her teaching files from when they were her students. You’d think you would have already gotten this stuff out, but whatever. While she is there she sees a vision/shadow of her husbands hanging body and her son running around it. It was slightly creepy.
Outside, Se-ho asks Mi-ja about Jung-won. He asks if Jung-won comes around often (yes), and does he get along with Mrs. Park (yes). He then asks if Mi-ja remembers what happened to Jung-won – he was chased out of class after peeing his pants. We cut to a scene of everyone in the class laughing at him. Mi-ja says that that was in the past and Jung-won probably forgot (doubtful). Then that very day Jung-won witnessed his mom’s accident (a car crash). Se-ho says he doubts Jung-won forgot that day. Out on the beach, Eun-young finds a disgusting dead rabbit with worms crawling all over it. She shows it to Dar-bong who is also grossed out. Back at the house, Soon-he changes her clothes and there is an implication (based on the shooting style) that someone is watching her. She then takes Mrs. Park on a walk, because she loves to take afternoon walks. By walk, it’s really just Soon-he pushing her chair. While they go on a walk, in a very happy voice, Soon-he asks if Mrs. Park remembers the time they had physical exams, and how the scale broke when she stepped on it. Mrs. Park pinched Soon-he’s fat rolls, made fun of her for it, and told her that the scale broke because she was so fat and everyone laughed. Mrs. Park doesn’t remember that – but Soon-he says she knew that Mrs. Park was trying to help her – that because of that incident, she started to lose weight. But on the negative side, it caused her to become obsessed with her appearance, losing crazy weight and having surgeries. She keeps pushing Mrs. Park to almost over a cliff, but stops just short of it. She wants to know if Mrs. Park will look at her eyes. She’s had sunglasses on the whole time so we’ve never seen them off. She says that the doctors won’t take her anymore because they think she’s crazy. And now, she has stitches in her eyes…. she starts to pull off her glasses, but doesn’t, laughs, and says that they better head back to the others. Mrs. Park is relieved. Soon-he is still in that kind of creepy happy voice she had the whole time.
At lunch, they’ve made a cake for Mrs. Park. Se-ho does a nice toast to Mrs. Park then tells her to blow out the candles – she tries but starts coughing and can’t do it. Soon-he blows them out instead. Then Dar-bong asks for some works of wisdom from Mrs. Park. They’re weird, and she addresses all of them personally, but almost forgets Jung-won. She says she wishes they’d all remain friends for a long time. During the meal, there is some weird hand holding of Mrs. Park and Myung-ho. She just keeps looking at him weird and touching his hand. Then, Dar-bong asks Jung-won about his necklace, a pendant looking thing, and touches it. Jung-won gets all offended and pushes his hand away. Dar-bong then asks Mrs. Park who she thinks turned out the best of all of them. She says she thinks they’re all pretty and good looking, but Myung-ho looks the best. Se-ho says he’s not surprised, as Mrs. Park always favored him anyway. Both Se-ho and Dar-bong look kind of upset. While this goes on, Jung-won looks off and sees a flashback of when they were in school. We see the kids go over to the basement window, covered in bars, and open it. Dar-bong calls for the little boy, Young-min, to come over, who puts on a rabbit mask before coming to the window. He goes to get the toy that they were handing him, but they drop it and pull off his mask to look at him instead. They run away screaming at the look of his face. Jung-won comes over to the window, and hands Young-min his mask. Mrs. Park comes over and beats Jung-won, thinking that he was making fun of her son – and her son watches and cries as she beats Jung-won, who says nothing.
Now back to the current day, it is now night time. Everyone seems to be having a good time but now Se-ho has a flash back. In his flashback, it is seemingly Mrs. Park’s birthday and she is opening presents. She opens Se-ho’s presents and it’s 3 pairs of sock. Mens socks, childs socks, and women’s socks. She shuts it with an angry look on her face saying that Se-ho should take this back to his mother as she doesn’t need them. A young Se-ho is visibly upset. Now back to the dinner table in current time. Mrs. Park suggests that they put Se-ho to bed, because he looks a little drunk. Eun-young tries to get him up but he shoves her off saying he’s not drunk nor going to bed. Conversation continues to happen, with Mrs. Park joking that she is suffering now because of all the crazyness the kids caused when they were younger. This causes Se-ho to completely break down. He starts screaming about how he can’t believe that they are all faking this stupid conversation – that they all turned out fucked up because of Mrs. Park. He asks Dar-bong who did that to his leg – and tells Soon-he to take off her glasses – and he asks Myung-ho why the hell he’s even there, but doesn’t say why (just kind of hinting that they had a relationship). He says Mrs. Park shouldn’t be blaming her suffering on them considering how much she fucked all of them up. Se-ho says he only came to visit to see how she could live with herself now. Mrs. Park says she is sorry and only wanted the best for them. Mi-ja wheels her off to inside the house while everyone cools down. Inside the house, Eun-young and Mi-ja put Mrs. Park to bed, while the others (minus Se-ho) talk about what Se-ho just did. Everyone has varying opinions. Dar-bong seems to have convinced himself that Mrs. Park was doing it for them and that Se-ho just has a stick up his butt. Jung-won is the only one that brings up her deformed son – Dar-bong tells him to shut up about that monster, then brings up when Jung-won shit his pants, causing him to leave.
Outside on the beach, Se-ho is peeing, bitching to himself, as a figure starts to walk towards him. He tells the figure to go away, that he’s in a bad mood. The figure gets close and is seen to be wearing a rabbit mask – like the one one young Young-min was wearing. The figure slices Se-ho up with a razor blade, to the point of Se-ho being completely cut up, covered in blood, and getting dragged off by the masked figure. Back inside, Mi-ja is cleaning up Mrs. Park’s room, and asks Eun-young to bath Mrs. Park – so she puts her in a tub and is washing her back while Mrs. Park babbles about her old skin. Eun-young, in a quiet, condescending voice asks Mrs. Park if she remembers teachers day – and how she (Mrs. Park) laughed so much at Eun-young that day. Everyone had brought gifts, and she opened them one by one, and laughed hysterically when she opened Eun-young’s present. It was a hand made card that said “I love you Mrs. Park” because she couldn’t afford any bought presents. She hated how Mrs. Park showed it to everyone, laughing at it. She then moves away from Mrs. Park, leaving her in the bathtub. She falls in the water and starts struggling to bring her head up and yelling for Eun-young to help her. Eun-young keeps just washing the rag at the sink – before Mi-ja hears the yells and comes in and saves her. Eun-young says she was sorry and thought Mrs. Park was ok.
Now we flash to the bunny mask person. We see them taking razor blades and breaking them into little tiny pieces. We see the hands doing this – and they are not deformed hands. So maybe it’s not Young-min. Hmmm. We then see Se-ho tied up and bloody in a corner, with his mouth held open with some contraption. The masked killer takes the razor blades and pours them down Se-ho’s throat. Then pours water down his throat to make him swallow. I didn’t watch the scene. Just kind of minimized it…. yuck. Now we see Eun-young go out to the beach to look for Se-ho and smoking a cigarette. We get the impression again that she is being watched – she even sees someone moving in a weird room in the house. She heads back to the house and goes back up to her room. There, she sees a lump in the bed and assumes it is Se-ho, already asleep. She starts talking, asking what was with Se-ho today, saying that they promised to forget about everything. Now she even feels kind of bad for Mrs. Park. She asks if Se-ho is even listening, and goes to pull up the bed cover, and finds just pillows with a bunny mask on them. We then see a hand come up from the underside of the bed, seemingly to grab her. We see her wake up, tied to a chair, staring at the body of Se-ho. We see the bunny masked person come up to her – and staple her eye lids open. Yikes. She appears to be dead when we see the shot of her with her eye lids stapled open, but she was definitely alive (as evidenced by the screams) when the person did it. So I don’t know if they killed her after or she just went into shock. Maybe we’ll find out later.
We flip over to Myung-ho’s room – where he is having a nightmare. We only see little flashes, but again, looks like Mrs. Park was touching him. He takes a bunch of pills, and gets up to go outside, waking Dar-bong (his roommate) up in the process. Soon-he watches, still completely clothed and with sunglasses, as Myung-ho goes down to the beach. On the beach, Myung-ho has a flashback of Mrs. Park coming up to him and trying to touch him – but it’s really just Soon-he, coming to check on him. Back in the room, Dar-bong is having leg pains, and we see the brace that he has on his knee. He takes it off and starts massaging his leg but is crying while doing so. He is also chugging some booze the whole time. We cut to Mrs. Park’s room, where she wakes up to a vision of Young-min, when he was little, and in his bunny mask. He takes it off, revealing a not disfigured face. She hugs him, but then has the deformed face again, she screams, he goes away, she sees the image of her hanging-husband, and then wakes up for real (ie that was a nightmare). When she wakes up, she sees a severely intoxicated Dar-bong at her door. He is laughing saying he can’t believe she doesn’t remember what happened to him. He was the last runner in the relay race – and he fell, and she slapped him, blaming him for losing the game. He says he stumbled because he had bought new shoes, that weren’t broken in, just for the race because Mrs. Park told him to – even though they were poor and couldn’t afford it. She then made him to squats all day to break in his shoes. About this point, we see a shadow in a bunny mask walk by the window. Both Dar-bong and Mrs. Park see it. Dar-bong runs out – actually seeing the figure, in a shirt and the mask through the window. He runs through the woods, eventually getting caught by the masked figure, who knocks him out. When Dar-bong wakes up, he is chained to the window and covered in ants. I think they’re biting ants, because we see them crawling all over him and him withering in pain. The masked bunny person then beats Dar-bong’s hanging body with a baseball bat, repeatedly.
Seemingly, this noise causes Mi-ja to wake up. She goes to investigate the noise and ends up with a flashlight down in the basement. She doesn’t seen anyone, and everything seems to be covered in cobwebs. She finds the light switch, turns it on, and finds the 3 dead bodies. She screams – which Myung-ho and Soon-he hear from the beach. They were just kind of talking down there. Myung-ho runs to the house, while Soon-he is slow to get up. Myung-ho comes across the scene, with Mi-ja now sitting on the floor crying and rocking back and forth. Myung-ho asks her what happened, and she obviously doesn’t know. Myung-ho thinks that Jung-won did this – that he is seeing revenge on all of them. Mi-ja says it can’t be Jung-won. Myung-ho says “what, you think the deformed kid just showed up and did it?” Then starts asking Mi-ja about Jung-won, like exactly when he started coming around (a year ago). She asks why he thinks he started coming around suddenly. Mi-ja keeps saying no. At the top of the stairs, Soon-he listens, but then shuts the door and locks them in the basement. They don’t see who did it. She runs up to Mrs. Park’s room, telling her that “it’s not safe” and takes off her glasses – showing her the stiches she has in her eyelid (still don’t know why, other than maybe a plastic surgery reason). Myung-ho and Mi-ja try to break down the door/escape the basement and finally do using a shovel. They run out of the room, looking for who locked them in, but Mi-ja gets distracted, noticing that Mrs. Park is gone – and that Soon-he’s glasses are on the floor in the room. Mi-ja tries to call the police, but the phone is dead. Mi-ja goes and gets a big flash light (which of course is on the verge of dying, and doesn’t last very long) and some glow sticks, and heads to the woods, trying to find Soon-he and Mrs Park. When the flashlights die, Mi-ja resorts to about the worlds brightest glow stick. She keeps looking, and we flip over to Mrs. Park and Soon-he. Soon-he has wheeled her back to the edge of that cliff, same as during the day. Mrs. Park asks what she ever did to Soon-he. Soon-he says of course Mrs. Park doesn’t remember, as she was just one of many students – but the students remember everything about Mrs. Park – even the color of her nail polish. Mrs. Park says ‘ok you’re right… but this is all wrong… you need to stop blaming others’. Soon-he goes to push Mrs. Park off the cliff, but of course, Mi-ja gets there just in time to save her. They fight for a minute, rustle around, and Soon-he ends up thrown off the cliff and dead. Mi-ja gets Mrs. Park back in the wheel chair and gets her back to the house. Once in the house, Myung-ho comes up behind them, hits Mi-ja in the head with a shovel, and throws Mrs. Park down into the basement.
In the basement, Myung-ho yells about how it must have been because of that “monster” deformed child that Mrs. Park couldn’t leave a normal kid like him alone. Again, hinting at the child rape. He keeps ranting and eventually douses Mrs. Park with gasoline. He is about to throw his lighter on her, screaming that he hopes in the next life she never has kids – and definitely does not become a teacher. Then, the masked bunny person comes out and attacks Myung-ho. They fight, and it ends up with Myung-ho under the bunny masked person. Myung-ho grabs something and manages to stab them in the neck, but the bunny person gouges Myung-ho’s eyes out with their fingers – and apparently that causes Myung-ho to die. The bunny person turns around, and Mrs. Park says “Young-min?” and the person takes off their mask – and reveals that it is Jung-won (shocker…not). He picks up a chair and is about to hit Mrs. Park with it, but Mi-ja comes down the stairs and tells him to stop. She goes over to Mrs. Park as Jung-won struggles to continue breathing. He says ‘I guess it’d be worse to continue to live than to die…’ and he dies. Mi-ja hugs Mrs. Park’s body as she cries.
We now cut back to the hospital, and several hours have passed while Mi-ja related the story to the detective. He says “well then, where’s Jung-won?”. Hmm, what? The detective leaves, calling his cop friend on the phone relating the information – and asks about Jung-won, who was in the same class as the victims. They put an alert out to find him. As he drives off he gets a phone call and we hear the detective say “where? I’m on my way” and he speeds off. Back in the hospital, Mi-ja is sitting on a bench outside the room, still watching Mrs. Park. She puts her head down for a minute, but then looks up as she hears a wheely noise and some footsteps. It’s just a nurse pushing a woman in a wheelchair. *whew*. She sees some cops, and feels kind of secure. The cops arrive at an apartment building that looks old, abandoned, and disgusting. They beat down the door to an apartment and inside, the come across a room with about an inch of water on the floor, lit candles, partly burned down, and a woman’s body sitting in a rocking chair, with a tv with the white noise stuff going on it. The body looks to have been there a while as it’s all wrinkly and grey, but still has hair and is wearing a white gown. The detective says he thinks that the woman it’s Jung-won’s mother, and to identify the body right away. He keeps looking around and in another room finds a wall with pictures all over it and stuff written everywhere. He looks at all the clothes and notices – hmm – everything in the house is a woman’s clothes, panties, nail polish, make up, etc. He asks the detective if they have the right house – and was Jung-won a woman? Then the cops phone rings – there wasn’t a Mi-ja in class with the other victims. But there was a Jung-won… Jung-won was actually Mi-ja. The voice on the phone also tells the detective that the victims all actually died of poisoning – and the hospital room is now empty (ie Mi-ja and Mrs. Park are gone). The detective goes back to the house and looks around in the kitchen. He finds poison everywhere. Uh oh.
Just to put a little aside in here to be clear – so what happened is that “Mi-ja” is a made up person. Jung-won is actually that woman. She told that story to the cop, and made up the male character of Jung-won. What else was made up? Keep reading to see.
We cut to scenes of Mi-ja/Jung-won poisoning the food from the party, for example the raspberry wine that Se-ho drank, and all the food they ate. We then see that at lunch that day, Mi-ja/Jung-won was inside playing the piano while everyone outside died from poisoning. She then comes outside and starts stabbing them all, while poor Mrs. Park watches in terror as they are all murdered in front of her eyes. We now go back to the present time. Mi-ja/Jung-won has taken Mrs. Park to a pier and Mrs. Park asks why Jung-won didn’t just kill her as well. Jung-won explains that she is punishing everyone. That day, in the school, she did not actually poop her pants – she was having her first menstrual cycle – and as a woman teacher, Mrs. Park should have realized that rather than making a mockery of her in class, causing everyone to make fun of her. We also find out that all those things that she said happened to the other students (calling Soon-he fat, making fun of Se-ho and Eun-young’s gifts, Dar-bong’s fall, etc.) actually happened to Jung-won, and she wants to know why Mrs. Park was just so mean to her. When she went home from school that day, and told her mom she had her first period, her mom went across the street to get stuff to clean her up with – and got hit by a car. She cared for her mom the rest of her life, and just recently her mom died – causing Jung-won to snap. Jung-won then just starts slowly walking to the edge of the pier while she talks to Mrs. Park, and when she gets to the edge – she just walks off of it…. the movie ends with Mrs. Park crying, trying to get to the edge of the pier. So did Jung-won/Mi-ja die? Who knows.
Besides the obvious GAPING plot hole/unnecessary plot lines (the deformed child we never find out what happened to and actually didn’t matter, the husband’s hanging, etc.), it was an alright movie. I say alright just because it was kind of rushed at the end and needed to be clearer about what all really happened. Especially in the lives of the victims. It was a very nice character study on how this abuse when they were young as shaped them as adults – but then finding out that none of it really happened and it was all made up, just kind of ruins that aspect. Meh. Also, at the very beginning, the detective was about to leave – why didn’t Mi-ja/Jung-won just let the cop leave – then escape with Mrs. Park? There was no point of telling that whole story if you were planning on just killing yourself anyway (other than the fact that then there wouldn’t be a movie).
A fairly predictable Korean slasher film, that has a well developed plot at the beginning and throughout the most of it but gets horrendously messy at the end.