Edinburgh International Film Festival

Intruders (Jo-nan-ja-deul) (2013)

Starring: Jun Suk-ho, Oh Tae-kyung

Directed by: Noh Young-seok

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Oh Tae-kyung in IntrudersSouth Korea. Home of 'Gangnam Style' and, er, other things. Such as this rather nice, low key horror/thriller in which a shy, mild mannered loner (Jun Suk-ho) travels to a snowbound mountain retreat for some quiet contemplation and writing time and ends up getting anything but. His problems begin on the outward journey, where he's accosted by an over-friendly local (Oh Tae-kyung) who's just been released from prison and is eager to become his new best pal. This scene immediately establishes our hero as, well, pretty unheroic really, a polite, nervous, introverted type who avoids conflict wherever possible. Good luck with that one...

Things drag a little when Sang-jin eventually reaches his destination – a wooden cabin in a ski resort – and we're introduced to some sinister local hunters and a group of noisy, partying skiers, who, with shades of Friday 13th meets Dead Snow, have 'kill me now' written on their foreheads. So of course they start disappearing – and from then on it's really rather good. Nothing goes quite the way you might expect, the plot diverting down unlikely and often amusing alleyways before the ending, signposted from the start but still unforeseen by me, places this classic pick-em-off slasher story firmly in its new locale, with a sudden political twist that could only happen in South Korea. Bit like 'Gangnam Style', really.

It's great that the Edinburgh International Film Festival offers folk like me a chance to see a movie like this, a low budget indie that riffs playfully on classic Hollywood horror tropes, reworking them to fit a very different culture. Intruders, well written and commendably acted as it is, is never going to achieve mainstream success over here, but it's well worth catching it if you can.

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