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Murder Death Koreatown

USA 2020

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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It all starts with our hero learning that somebody has been murdered in his immediate neighbourhood, a young Korean-born man who has been killed by his girlfriend everybody describes as nice and quiet. Now our hero finds bloodstains in the street that might or might not have to do with the murder, and he eventually comes to the conclusion that things don't add up. Now he has been unemployed for quite some time and has too much time on his hands and a void to fill, so he decides to conduct his own "investigation", even if he originally had no stake in the case, neither did he know the victim nor the killer. He starts roaming the neighbourhood and interviewing people, who not all that surprisingly feel bothered by him - so much so that he's eventually banned from the complex the murder took place. But that doesn't faze him in the slightest, he now only thinks that someone tries to hide something. Then he stumbles over some graffiti written in Korean, and even though he doesn't even read (or speak) Korean, he's sure that it's a message for him, and when he has it translated - it's some rambling warning of the "pastors", the local street preachers - he shoehorns it into his "case". Eventually he meets a homeless guy who seems to know more (or just rambles on because his brain has been fried), and his attention is drawn to the murder victim's garage and his landlord. Said landlord chases away our hero but is found dead soon afterwards - and the garage becomes our hero's focal point. But for the viewer it becomes more and more clear he's just heading for disaster ...

 

There's little known about the background of this film, not even the cast and filmmakers have been identified yet - which of course more likely is a clever marketing ploy rather than part of the "mystery" -, and it's not clear whether this is fact or fiction - and I tend to believe the latter, as the film's just too well-structured for a chunk of reality.

Neither of the above says anything about the quality of the film as such though, and I have to admit, even though my enthusiasm about the "found footage" genre is limited, this one's fascinating, as it's really less about faking authenticity but a disturbing trip into a person's mind who's slowly but surely losing it, and that the film refuses to give up his first person perspective only adds to the creepiness of the movie - where of course the film's solid structure also helps. Plotwise, Murder Death Koreatown is a bit reminiscent of the books of writer Paul Auster when he tried his hands on detective novels, that likewise have their protagonists start out with simple cases to soon be diverted by their own perception - and it works here just as well, maybe to even eerier results.

A very odd and unique film for sure, but one that deserves a watch.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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