The Red Shoes (Bunhongsin) (2005) • South Korea

The Red Shoes uses every J-Horror (and K-Horror) motif we've seen many times before. Most notably the young, attractive, professional female lead who's got a cheating husband and a daughter that goes freaky. Its plot is constructed around some thing that connects the natural and supernatural worlds via the kid. There's a hip, interested, and understanding other man hanging around, helping when he can. The infamous J-Horror Goth Chick even makes appearances. If all this is a deal breaker with regards to your viewing pleasure, skip this one. If it's not, then add it to your queue immediately.

The red shoes, referred to with the singular it in this film, are really more of a fuchsia pink set of come-fuck-me pumps. The Red is surely meant to symbolize blood, as in "blood on your hands", but I digress.

It's the production values of The Red Shoes that make it worthwhile. This is a good looking film whose creators clearly cared about doing it well. The cinematography is creepy and creative, accentuating the sense of dread with distortions, colors and inspired scene locations. The soundtrack is understated and almost peaceful—it's not used to create tension where none exists. And the script, typical of Asian Horror, is loose enough for the viewer to choose from a number of interpretive styles: is it a dream, a figment of some dreadful imagination, or is everybody a different aspect of a multiple personalty? The Red Shoes doesn't break any new ground but if you are a fan of the genre this is a professionally put together package that delivers.


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