June 1, 2014

SUMMER OF BLOOD, Day 1: Cinderella (2006)

Directed by Bong Man-dae. Starring Ahn Ah-yung, Ahn Gyu-ryun, Jeon So-min, and Shin Se-Kyung. Not Rated.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Tartan/Genius)
Running time: 01:36:27
Country: South Korea

Dearest Death Rattlers, it's been a while since I posted any reviews, so I decided it was time to clear away the creative cobwebs and start writing again. Throughout the summer, The Death Rattle will be hosting "Summer of Blood" and I very much look forward to your complete lack of interest. I'll be posting horror-related content every day for the next 92 days. These could range from reviews to lists to whateverz man. Who knows, I may even interview some people (doubt it). Kicking things off is a review of the South Korean horror movie CINDERELLA, which cherry-picks elements from the original fairy tale and incorporates them into a modern setting.

The story revolves around a teenage girl who gets plastic surgery on her face and proceeds to have nightmarish hallucinations. On top of that, her single mother is a plastic surgeon and is actually the one who operated on her. She's not quite as domineering as the wicked stepmother in the original Cinderella tale, but, as we learn throughout the film, she indeed has some deep-rooted maternal issues that set up a pretty disturbing plot twist.

This movie exists in a world where it's completely acceptable (and even "cool") for teenage girls to get plastic surgery. Is it a South Korean thing or was it just made up for this movie? I have no idea. Whatever the case, vanity plays a huge part in CINDERELLA. For the most part, the focus here is on the single mother. The film takes a look at her relationship with her daughter, and it's obvious throughout the film that there's a lot more to their relationship than what we see. There's initially a lot of secrecy, and when those secrets are eventually exposed, it's quite disturbing, interesting, and sad at the same time.

Overall, there's a very eerie and chilling atmosphere throughout CINDERELLA. Yeah, we do get some of the Asian horror cliches, but for the most part the subject matter itself is enough to make this a successfully creepy and unsettling horror movie. Apparently it hasn't been too well-received by a lot of people who've seen it, which is a surprise to me. I think it's a decent horror movie and fairly well made. In particular, the editing, cinematography, and eerie score are great, and it's really those three elements of the filmmaking (combined with the story's subject matter) that make CINDERELLA a huge success in my book. I don't know if this will ever come up when I think of the best Asian horror movies I've ever seen, but it's definitely in the conversation when it comes to South Korea.

Score: 7.5


  1. I've been sitting on this one for a while (and damn is it uncomfortable. It's those glass slippers!). May have to break this open tonight.

  2. Do it, man! I hope you dig it.

  3. Noticed you gave Sorum a good review too. I've had both those waiting to be watched. May have some time to squeeze one in after I give Willow Creek a watch

  4. Nice! SORUM is a slow burn with an amazing pay off. I have more South Korean horror movies lined up, including the WHISPERING CORRIDORS series. Stay tuned.

  5. If you get the chance (or if you haven't seen it yet), Red Shoes is very good.

  6. Will do! It's already on the queue for my Summer of Blood theme actually.