And you thought you hated your high school reunion?
This is the premise of Korean director Im Dae-woong film debut: the bloody, but suspenseful, Korean language horror film, Bloody Reunion.
The film tells the tale of the fateful reunion of seven former junior high students and their wheelchair-bound, dying erstwhile teacher - Mrs. Park. The seven students - now adults, and out of school for a dozen or so years - form the very cliché of clique archetypes - the athletic one, the pretty one, the smart one, the rebel… you get the gist.
The beginning of the reunion is cordial - warm, even. The students all appear very happy to meet with Mrs. Park, and revel in the exchange of old stories, waxing nostalgic. Things take a turn for the dark as the day wears on and the liquor flows freer; students allude to the torment exacted upon them by Mrs. Park, in perhaps thinly-veiled attempts to extract an apology, or some sort of explanation. One male student expressed shock and dismay, and then vigorously drowns his emotions in alcohol, at his teacher's inability to remember how her severe corporal punishment instantly ended his promising professional baseball career before it even got started. Another former student, a pretty but biting young woman, sarcastically remarks about how Mrs. Park's derision at her obesity was the constant driver for her to attain the perfect body - excepting one major plastic surgery incident. Perhaps most disturbingly, the prototypically shy man - still a boy emotionally, really - recalls how he tried to connect with Mrs. Park's seriously disfigured, secluded son - who always wears a creepy bunny mask - resulting in severe castigation by Mrs. Park. This episode was followed by another far more dreadful scene, in which the boy accidentally soils himself in the middle of class and is uncharitably ordered to leave the classroom by Mrs. Park. This launches a series of events in which the boy's mother is tragically killed in an accident; the boy never again returns to the school.
The former students' wounds are running deep, emotions are running high, and the scene is ripe for confrontation. Suddenly, the partygoers start disappearing, and one by one emerge in grisly circumstances. By turns, the blame is circulated; first Mrs. Park, and then her now-adult son, and then the shy boy who lost his mother - pretty soon everyone is suspect, and the paranoia is palpable. The twist at the end evokes the very essence of early M. Night Shyamalan.
This is not a movie for young kids. The torture scenes are evocative of Saw and maybe even The Human Centipede. Ok, maybe not that intense. At any rate, this film is worth a view, because this is more than merely a horror movie; it is an exploration of those universal themes of childhood cruelty, fantasy, revenge, psycopathy and … creepy bunny imagery.