GUARD POST / GP 506
(2008, South Korea)
(2008, South Korea)
Su-Chang Kong wrote and directed both this and R-Point (2004) - both are horror films set in the army. I was impressed and scared by R-Point and wondered if this soldier's tale was going to be similar. The strengths of both films are that you're not sure which particular horror genre you're heading into. A slasher movie? Zombies? Ghosts?
Guard Point begins at the end of a massacre, at a remote concrete complex near the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. A military investigation team arrives to discover a sole survivor drenched in blood, holding an axe. They're given 24 hours to determine what happened. Did everyone kill each other, or did one man do it all? Is he mad, or possessed?
But as the scares began, I was disappointed to see a few overly familiar horror cliches, especially after the originality of the surprises in R-Point. The plot was certainly clever, but maybe too convoluted, because I started to get lost as the story moved between timelines before and after the massacre.
When explanations finally arrived, they didn't quite answer everything, and I was left sorting out red herrings from loose ends. The narrative was hard-going and requires concentration - with many sudden flashbacks, it's not always easy to follow. Also, with a cast of four dozen characters, all soldiers, variously covered in blood and camouflage make-up, it wasn't easy to make out who's who.
But it's a handsome looking film, with a convincing cast and solid, steadily-increasing shocks. It's certainly far more eventful than R-Point, and far gorier. Maybe I'll understand it better second time around. If it was from Thailand I'd be very impressed. But from Korea, I'd expect to be more satisfied. Boy, am I hard to please sometimes.
Guard Post was released last year on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK by Cine-East.
Here's the trailer on YouTube, without subtitles though.