Again, I watched another Korean movie some days ago. Don’t ask me what kind of movie it is: since I told you that it’s a Korean movie, you may have wondered that it’s either a horror-thriller about grudge or a sad, sobbing melodrama. Haha, it’s a joke actually, but I found it true. And “Death Bell”, of course, tends to be the first category.
At the first sight, you may think that “Death Bell” was another ghost story. It took place in a school, where all the students seemed so perfectionally serious with many classes and tests. Horror begins when all the top students were collected to attend a so-called “special class” for a week. Then, one by one of them was kidnapped and tortured as the culprit served questions (or I’d like to call as riddles) for other students to solve so that the victim would be released safe.
Yes, the premise was so “Saw”. Actually, the blend of both torture scenes and riddles makes it just like the “Saw” series, except for the too much gore that “Saw” brought. “Death Bell” emphasized on the thriller, actually, either of the riddles that make the viewer think. It focused more about how the students and teachers were terrified and how they caught the culprit. The torture scenes were quite shocking and brutally horrifying. There were so many sadistic murders showed in the movie. The main plot hole about “who doesn’t follow the rule will die sooner” still remains and decreases my excitement of the thriller “Death Bell” brought, in my opinion.
The first part of the movie went so lame: scenes moved fast, not intertwined, and arguable. At the end of the movie you would question things like, “then what does the meaning of the opening scene?” or “does this scene have any correlation with the overall plot?”. The addition of time and date of murder captions were exaggerating. No, don’t ask me about the characterization of the cast: they were just shallow and ... dull. Twist at the ending was interesting, but not that surprising.
I like how the director did a good effort to make the thriller more artsy and well-made, instead of just put them to scary us. The scene of horror in the school lobby when the lights are turned on and off repeatedly are just memorable, although somehow intriguing. The plot was not special, or I could say predictable, but it’s just amusing. I found myself thrilled, although some plot holes were quite annoying.
“Death Bell” finally thrilled me for its power of good thrilling scenes. Many plot holes made this movie arguably bad, but I just felt like I was punked that I was horrified by them. If you like to be thrilled or if you are a thriller movie lover (or if you are an average viewer), you will get amused with “Death Bell”, but I’d like to say that “Death Bell” was just totally not a special one. It’s just a one-shoot thing that you can easily forget.
DETAILS & CREDITSDEATH BELL | ORIGINAL TITLE Gosa COUNTRY South Korea YEAR 2008 RATING unrated GENRE Horror, Thriller RUNTIME 88 min CAST Lee Beom-soo, Yoon Jeong-hee, Nam Gyu-ri, Kim Bum, Son Yeu-eun WRITER Yoon Hong-seung (a.k.a. Chang), Kim Eun-kyeong DIRECTOR Yoon Hong-seung (a.k.a. Chang) AWARDS n.a. BUDGET/GROSS ₩1.3 billion / $9,274,859 (South Korea per 14 Sept 2008) IMDB RATING 5.6/10 METASCORE n.a. TOMATOMETER n.a. MORE INFO