I know Korea seems to be the new Japan to all trend hunting weebs and nerds out there. Now Japan with it's J rock, and pop, anime and fashion is so mainstream it's not cool to like it any more and now Korean music, fashion and film have become the new great hip thing as it's all about K pop and K drama and all that.. lala.
I don't think I've seen a K horror and to be honest? THE DOLL MASTER has been in my collection for years now and I have only just gotten around to watching it. I thought it was Japanese at a glance and it was like.. 50p so that was enough reason to buy it.
I didn't buy it cus I'm all hip and cool and chasing new trends... that's not me at all.
Anywho.. Doll Master
I've done some reading into Japanese folklore and yokai legends but never ever Korean so when I started to get a handle of the plot I thought it was very Japanese. In Japan they believe that an item will take on a soul if it becomes 100 years old and other reasons and there for you either have to pay respect when removing it from this world or love it.
This plot is basically dolls can feel a powerful love and take on a soul and those dolls who are wronged come back and seek revenge on the people who did it. I have to tell everyone now I find dolls fucking creepy and I reallllly hate BJDs [Ball Jointed Dolls] which again I have always seen as part of the Japanese culture.
So the movie starts with a story. A man and women love each other and he's a doll maker, he makes a doll that looks like his wife as a gift, but the doll loves him back and takes on a life of it's own. One day he comes back and his wife has been murdered.
Four men from the town assume it was him and murder him, burying him out in the woods. The doll he made sits by his grave forever.
Que to present day where a famous doll maker invites four people to the house to have dolls made based on them. A sculptor, a photographer, a novelist who owns a creepy ass BJD and a teenage girl. The sculptor bumps into a model along the way and they are apparently coming along for the ride.
They all get to the house and are introduced by obviously up to something host who decides to allow gate crasher model stay. Everyone has things explained and they all get their rooms. Each room has a fucking hideous and creepy looking doll related object around the house and they are not just ugly but realllllly fucking ugly.
If that was me and I had to stay in a room with one of those mother fucking things I'd just sleep in the hall way or in the garden or in the crematory.. or haunted shed next door..... or in my own shit.
So everyones very happy and at peace in the strange house thats full of creepy fucking dolls and two creepy hosts.. The doll maker and her brother. Anyway so everything is ok until the quite novelist with the doll decides to fucking freak out.
She claims her doll is alive and talks to her and right now she can't hear him but can hear so many other voices, she has a massive spazz attack and needs to be held down. She falls alseep and it taken to her room. Sculper girl meets a young girl called Mina along the way who seemes to know her but she has no remerence of her..
Mina the strange young girl still on her mind she goes back to the house and is pretty much attached by the crazy bitch, someones 'killed' her doll. And apparently the correct way of killing a doll with a spirit is to smash their eyes in and behead them as souls enter the body and leave the body via the eyes. I guess it's to go with the whole legend of eyes being the gate way to a persons soul.
So odd things happen along the way, creepy dolls, moving dolls, thinking you see things in the corner of your eye, eyes moving and following you around the room. Everything is done with purpose but also subtle.. so you'll notice every little thing but not because it has been pushed into your face but due to pacing and changes in the overall mood and feeling.
So soon the first murder has happened and things get crazy one after another end up getting killed in horrid ways by disgusting doll things. Including ones which are put behind tolilets.. whoever decided that was an awesome idea.. it wasn't.
Maybe this movie wont have the same effect on someone who isn't bothered by dolls or such things but as someone who gets massive uncanny valley feels this movie has me on edge abit and waiting for next horrible thing to happen. So Mina the young girl has become stranger and stranger and we later find she's more then we realise.
I won't give any more away but the best part of this movie was the women who plays Mina. There is a very gripping and heart wrenching bit at the end and her acting is so beautful and powerful I forgot I was watching something a little dated and a little low budget as none of that made any difference.
This movie is well paced, the gore is good and the acting is pretty bloody good.
The thing with alot of Asian horror I have seen is they are either trying to be too 'whacky' or they tend to always look dated and low budget despite being recent or not that old. This one still has that low paid vibe but not to the extent alot I've seen.. but to be honest that is one of the best things about Asian horror..
Where it's not big flashy or polished it looks and feels more real, a gritty unplesent feeling from it.
Anyway this movie was enjoyable, the plot was super natural but not corny and the gore was good and nothing felt too staged.
Overall enjoyment: 4/5