Movie Reviews 185 – Sorum (2001)

SorumIt’s been a while since I popped in a Tartan K-horror DVD so I was really looking forward when I finally  got around to Sorum, one of those convoluted stories in which the actions and doings of most of the characters are all somehow dictated by events in the past.

Yong-hyun (Myung-min Kim), a young taxi driver, rents out an apartment in a dilapidated building only to find that apartment 504 was the scene of a recent fire, as evidenced by the scorched ceiling above his head. Down the hall is a wannabe writer working on novel while down the other end of the hall lives Sun-yeong (former beauty queen Jang Jin-Young although you wouldn’t know that given the shambled look she ports through most of the film), a woman constantly being beaten up by her husband.

Yong-hyun takes a shine to Sun-yeong, and makes it a point to pass her walking home from her job as a convenience store  clerk so that he can offer her a ride home in his taxi. At first, the rides are quiet, Sun-yeong not even bothering to answer Yong-hyun’s polite queries. But she eventually makes small talk. The writer neighbor on the other hand is incessantly talkative. His discussions and those of the other tenants in the building often get around to some obscure tragedy that occurred in the building 30 years ago when another fire took place in which a baby was rescued.

Like many such Korean movies, the pace is agonizingly slow and we have to put all the hints and pieces into place to get down to what the movie is really all about, but it’s a neat story once the puzzle is complete. You won’t find much gore or violence as this is Korean horror with a little ‘h’. But it is strange and offbeat enough to enjoy until the big reveal at the end.

One odd thing you won’t help but noticing is that every character seems to be a chainsmoker in this movie. Not sure if this was supposed to be some subtle hint to the building fires around which the story revolves or if I’m missing some other aspect. You figure it out.



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