Young couple Hong and Hyun-ah stop at a countryside eatery, only to discover the owner is a crazy-man. After dispatching Hong he locks up Hyun-ah in his homemade prison, where he periodically returns to indulge in a bit of abuse and torture. Meanwhile Hyun-ah’s sister has taken it upon herself to track down her sibling.
The tagline to Missing reads, “154,000 people go missing in Korea every year, of those – only 1,600 live to tell the tale.” As far as taglines go it’s somewhat clunky and a bit obvious, in which respects it perfectly representative of the film itself.
From the outset it is clear that Missing is going to be a more obvious movie than recent Korean gems of the same genre. Where Memories Of Murder and The Chaser strive for nuance in plot and character, Missing goes broader on all levels. As such, the entire thing comes off as more populist than we are accustomed to from Korean cinema. Some of the dialogue and acting is a little shaky and the plot isn’t terribly original, falling somewhere between Psycho and the aforementioned The Chaser.
On the plus side, it trots along at a good pace, finding its dark side quickly and throwing in story developments with enough regularity to keep you interested. The abuse scenes are generally more suggested at, so as to stay just far enough away from becoming torture porn or mean spirited, which is actually quite refreshing.
Duplicitously, the film is actually at its best during the darker, weirder scenes, unfortunately there aren’t that many of them, making it (on the whole) a pretty standard chiller. Still, it’s not terrible and will pass on and hour and a half quite adequately.
B- grade – for storytelling
C- grade – for originality
C grade – for direction
C grade – for acting
Overall grade – C+
Missing will be available on region 2 DVD from the 31st of January, courtesy of Cine Asia.