Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Lingering / 호텔 레이크 - Movie Review

The Movie: Lingering호텔 레이크

The Director: Yoon Eun-kyoung

The Cast: Lee Se-young, Park ji-young, Park Hyo-joo, Park So-yi, Jeon Su-ji, Lee Ju-won, Kim Bo-yoon, Moon Chang-gil

The Story: When Yoo-mi searches out her mother's friend at a hotel to drop off her younger sister, she falls into unexpected mystery and horror.

The Review:
2020 has brought a non stop stream of horror movies from all corners of the world and from just about every sub genre you could ever think of so to stand out, your story really needs to be something special. Also, South Korean horror seems to have an edge on most other countries when it comes to dark and truly scary horror stories and this movie fits right into that mold. Within the first few minutes, there are a couple solid jump scares which quickly set the mood for what follows. The whole movie is very dark and has a sense of dread that seems to come from every corner of the hotel hallways and dusty rooms that the movie is set in.

There are so many horror movies that survive off of a gimmick or depend too much on jump scares without ever really telling a story that's worth watching and this movie falls dangerously close to those traps. For the most part, I liked the story although it lacked in originality and was fairly predictable all the way through to the end. It's pretty easy to figure out early on who might die and who might survive and who is hiding any sort of secrets about their past so there is a bit of a ho hum factor for people who have watched a lot of horror movies.

What kept me engaged was the great effort from the entire cast with Lee Se-young in the lead role as Yoo-mi, the young woman who is given the task of caring for the little sister she doesn't want. You see the struggle from the beginning as she deals with her own past and her own demons and also how she fights her way through while creating a bond with her younger sibling. Park ji-young is also excellent in her role as Gyeong-seon, the owner of the hotel where most of the story takes place. Ms. Park actually reminds me a lot of Joan Chen in her presence on screen and acting ability and her performance in this movie makes me want to see more of her work.

The Verdict:
Lingering is a solid debut effort for writer and director Yoon Eun-kyoung and a worthy addition to this year's roster of Korean horror movies. The one hour and 41 minute run time felt just a bit long but the movie still provides enough scares to make it worth your time.

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