Seven years ago Myeong-sook (played by Kim Hae-sook) was murdered. From that day forward her son Jin-hong (played by Kim Rae-won) resolved to find justice, not only for his mother, but for everyone. Fortunately he was already a prosecutor by that time, so mostly he just became more determined to resolve criminal matters in the best interest of justice. Anyway, so Jin-hong is going about minding his own business when suddenly, he gets a phone call. Myeong-sook has come back to life- and then things take an unexpected turn for the violent.
"RV: Resurrected Victims" has an exceptionally complex and detailed backstory. Apparently murder victims coming back to life to target their murderers has become a regular thing in the world. The first such known case rather ominously promised plenty more cases to come. There are secular and religious organizations dedicated to investigating the phenomenon, and they come to see Myeong-sook because her case bears peculiar differences compared to the resurrected victims seen thus far.
The philosophical questions at play here are quite strong. Initially I thought the story was going to be about who was resurrecting the murder victims and why. Alas, "RV: Resurrected Victims" largely ignores the most interesting part of its premise, instead choosing to be a mystery focused exclusively on Myeong-sook's family, delving into why the woman was murdered and what relation her son had with these events.
It's honestly really hard to care about any of that considering the greater implications of the whole existence of resurrected victims in the first place. And it doesn't help that all Jin-hong does most of the time is just be on the receiving end of exposition. We learn almost nothing about what kind of person Jin-hong is, such that right up until the climax I thought there was a decent chance Jin-hong murdered his own mother directly, for some reason, considering how little Jin-hong emotes upon seeing the mother he personally saw cremated back in the flesh.
Clumsy elements in the construction of the mystery do not help matters. An entire act is dedicated to the apprehension and custody of a Chinese man involved in Myeong-sook's murder. This character could easily have been written out of the story entirely without changing much of consequence, since unlike the ultimately more relevant suspect, the Chinese man lacks a personal motive. So instead the Chinese man just gallavants around in an appallingly repulsive manner, the result being that all his scenes come off as rather racist.
But beyond that, I would have totally been down for a bog standard mystery thriller wherein a man tries to figure out why his mother died, and also why some trace of her surviving instinct appeared resentful toward him. By dragging in all this supernatural stuff about murdered victims coming back to life, "RV: Resurrected Victims" only succeeded in making me want to watch a movie about that concept. So for most of the runtime I was just annoyed that the movie failed to deliver on its fairly intriguing premise.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Film Review] "RV: Resurrected Victims""
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