Marui Video (2023) ☆☆☆(3/4): An investigation involved with one cursed video tape

South Korean film “Marui Video” is another found footage horror flick mixed with your average occult materials, but it turns out to be more effective than I expected. Although it takes some time for building up its narrative momentum, it subsequently provides a series of nice moments of horror and dread to be appreciated by its genre fans out there, and the overall result is good enough to compensate for its several weak aspects.

The movie is presented to us as the assembly of what was shot by its reporter hero, played by Seo Hyun-woo, and his crew members during early 2019. Having heard a lot about those grisly video evidences of murders which are not allowed to be released to public for their graphic brutality, the reporter decides to delve into the old basement archive of the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office, and he becomes particularly interested in one terrible murder case which happened in a seedy local motel in 1992. According to the rumor surrounding the video tape evidence of this murder case, the content of the video tape evidence is haunted by something besides being quite terrible to watch, and the reporter is willing to go further for locating this infamous video tape evidence.

For more information, the reporter interviews a prosecutor who worked in the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office and the widow of the defendant’s lawyer, but both of them cannot help the reporter that much. At least, the reporter and his crew members manage to locate an indirect copy of that video tape evidence, and they soon come to notice something weird. The murderer, who incidentally committed suicide shortly before being released, seems to be under some strange influence, and the reporter and his crew members also come to notice a faint ghostly figure in the background.

Quite more intrigued than before, the reporter looks into the rather shady background of that murder case. At that time, the aforementioned local motel belonged to a guy who is still alive, and this old guy does not seem to have much to tell when he is approached by the reporter, but the reporter senses something fishy about the old guy as getting to know about the old guy’s past. Some time before that murder case occurred, the wife and daughter of a certain relative of his were also brutally murdered, and the police casually assumed that relative’s adolescent son killed them for some unknown reason before eventually killing himself.

When the reporter tries to interview the old man again, he is already disappeared to the bafflement of the reporter and his crew members, and then they come to dig up more disturbing hidden facts about this increasingly questionable figure. Not so surprisingly, he turns out to be not who seems to be on the surface, and it also looks like there is a long shadow of undiscovered old crime behind him.

Meanwhile, the reporter’s investigation takes another odd turn. One of his crew members starts to show a series of alarming behaviors not long after they and their hired shaman look into an abandoned house where the family of the old guy’s relative lived, and the reporter and his crew members are certainly alarmed by this inexplicable happening. Because it looks like a serious case of possession, they seek some help from the aforementioned shaman, and we surely get an intense sequence where this shaman holds a big ritual for getting to the bottom of the situation.

It goes without saying that our reporter hero and his crew members are doomed from the very beginning, but director/writer Yoon Joon-hyeong, who previously drew my attention for his feature debut film “Fatal Intuition” (2015), handles his familiar materials with enough competence. Although many of key scenes in the film look a little too slick and composed for its genre, they are filled with a substantial amount of spookiness to hold our attention, and the movie does not disappoint us when it goes all the way for more spookiness during its expected finale. Yes, you may wonder about how the hell the main characters of the film still hold their cameras even at that point, but the movie dutifully follows its genre conventions with enough conviction at least, and you can probably go easily along with that.

The performers in the film are believably plain and realistic as required, though a few of them may be a bit too recognizable to you. In case of Seo Hyun-woo, his adequate low-key acting fits well to the mundane background surrounding him, but he has been more recognizable these days due to his recent notable supporting turn in “Phantom” (2023), and that can be distracting to you at times. In comparison, several other main cast members in the film slip into their respective supporting role more naturally, and Jo Min-kyung manages to leave some impression despite her rather thankless role which simply demands her to go to the extremes later in the story.

In conclusion, “Marui Video” is not very scary to me, but I enjoyed its well-made moments at least, and Yoon confirms here that he is a good genre filmmaker who knows one or two things about how to unnerve us in effective ways. I must confess that I have been rather weary of found footage horror flicks these days, but I do not mind watching a good one at all, and I assure you that you will be entertained if you are well aware of what it intends to do in advance.

This entry was posted in Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.