Wednesday, February 21, 2018

REVIEW: Forgotten (live action movie)

Forgotten is a South Korean thriller.


In case the name romanizations in my review don't quite match the subtitles in Netflix, I'll start with this note: I completely forgot to write characters' names down and am using a list of character names I found online to write this review.

All right, so Forgotten stars Jin-seok, a 21-year-old college student (I think?) who has just moved to a new house with his mother, father, and older brother. Jin-seok and his brother, Yoo-seok, have to share a room for a while because their father agreed to store some of the house's previous owner's stuff in the other bedroom. Both brothers are told never to go into the other room, but right from the start Jin-seok keeps hearing strange sounds coming from the room that no one else seems to hear.

Things only get worse when, shortly after the move, Yoo-seok is kidnapped right before Jin-seok's eyes. The entire family waits for any kind of word about Yoo-seok - a ransom request, anything. Nothing at all happens, until nineteen days later Yoo-seok shows up again with no memory of what happened while he was kidnapped. Jin-seok, who has had nightmares for some time and takes medication for his anxiety, finds his fears and paranoia becoming worse after his brother's return.

I decided to watch this thriller on a whim after Netflix threw a trailer for it at me. Considering how much it got my heart rate going, I probably shouldn't have watched it in the evening, but oh well, too late.

I've apparently watched too many of these types of movies, because I guessed one of the big reveals only a few minutes in. Fortunately, this turned out to be only one of several of the movie's twists, and I in no way predicted just how gut-wrenchingly tragic the last 30 minutes were going to be.

It's a fairly long movie and, as I said, a good chunk of it is pretty predictable, although so nicely written and shot that it frayed my nerves anyway. Embarrassingly, I actually screamed during one of the first jumpscares. Once I became certain that my early suspicions about the story were correct, I enjoyed trying to guess characters' motives. Nothing I came up with was anywhere close to the truth, and the moment in the police station was a complete shock.

If I had known going in how much the last thirty minutes were going to wreck me, I don't know that I'd have watched the movie - I'm not big on movies that are horrible to their characters and make me cry. There is no happy ending here, not even vaguely. I suppose you could call some of what happens justice, maybe, but that word doesn't feel right. I'm not sure anything even resembling justice was possible in this situation, with these characters.

All in all, this was an excellent movie, but not one I think I could ever watch again. I had thought the jumpscares and tension in the first hour or so were going to kill me, but it turned out that the ending was even more brutal, in an entirely different way.

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