BLOODY BEACH promo art
BLOODY BEACH
(aka HAEBYEONEURO GADA)

(2000, South Korea)

3 and a half stars  

directed by:In Soo Kim
starring: Hyun-Jung Kim, Yang Dong-geun, Seung-chae Lee, Lee Jung-Jin, Jae Hee, Tae-seong Jin, Se-eun Lee, Seo Beom-sik, Lee Eun-ju, Kim Gyu-ri

choice dialogue:

“Must be an insane stalker of yours.”

- could be!

slash with panache?

 

[review by JA Kerswell]

   BLOODY BEACH
  Unlike many of its contemporaries, BLOODY BEACH looks beyond SCREAM to the gore fx of the early 80s slashers.

BLOODY BEACH was one of the short-lived spate of South Korean slasher movies that riffed off I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (1997). A group of young people - who only know each other from an online chat room - go on vacation to a house near the beach. A weekend of partying turns to bloodshed when an event from their past comes back to haunt them. A gory popcorn whodunnit slasher that owes as much to the likes of THE BURNING (1981) as it does to the movies that followed in the wake of Wes Craven’s genre-rejuvenating SCREAM (1996).

A young woman from the Chat Group finds herself stranded on the train when she misses her stop on the way to join her online friends. She has just received a text message from someone calling themselves Sandmanzz - who tells her to enjoy her trip as it will be her last. The mystery caller is true to their word after she becomes the first victim with a knife through the back of her neck. The rest of the group meet at the beach house and get acquainted. They presume the first victim has bailed and get down to the usual round of partying and splashing around on the beach.

   BLOODY BEACH
  It wouldn't be a South Asian beach set slasher without some cheesecake and enthusiastic splashing in the sea!

However, the frivolities become more serious-minded when talk turns to the mystery figure of the allegedly dead Sandmanzz - who group didn’t know the identity of but none of them liked. Having lived their lives in relative anonymity behind screen names, they believe that Sandmanzz committed suicide - and several apportion blame which leads to fisticuffs and recriminations. However, Nam-kyeong (Hyun-Jung Kim) sees two of the group brutally murdered in the woods after they have made out with each other and she realises a killer is after them. She returns to the house to warn the others, but it soon becomes clear that one of those still alive also goes by the alias Sandmanzz …

BLOODY BEACH starts off in a riot of fluff and sunshine to the deceptively upbeat sounds of Chumbawamba’s ‘She's got all the friends that Money can buy’. The frolicking on the beach is set to a catchy ‘60s surf beat as the friends construct a giant sand castle in the shape of a computer tower and keyboard - as a tribute to how they met online. The popcorn feel continues with nods to the Lover’s Lane of North American slashers - with some light nudity and sex thrown in for good measure for that extra 80s feel. The film flirts with the gloriously ridiculous when Nam, who is buried up to her neck in sand, is knifed to death by the killer on a well-populated beach - whose identity is obscured by being silhouetted by the sun. Although it turns out to be a somewhat unlikely dream sequence!

   BLOODY BEACH
  BLOODY BEACH pays tribute to early 80s slashers such as THE BURNING down to a bit of finger snipping with garden shears.

However, the film increasingly treads a darker path as it goes on and more-or-less ignores the post-modernisms of Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson’s seminal slasher reinvention. Clearly, the makers of BLOODY BEACH are looking further back and were making their own alternative tribute to early ‘80s slashers, most notably with a nod to THE BURNING - where some unfortunate gets their fingers snipped off with garden shears. The soundtrack also dances around a tribute, or pastiche, of Harry Manfredini’s score for FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980) - where the film’s Final Girl plays a game of cat and mouse in the woods with the killer.

As much a mystery as to who the killer is was my misremembering this movie. I bought it on DVD from a company in Hong Kong over 20 years ago. My recollection was of a mega cheesy slasher where someone in scuba gear kills off partying teens on a tropical beach. Clearly I was confusing the two, but what is the name of the latter? Answers on a postcard please!

The Internet technology of BLOODY BEACH looks so archaic to modern eyes that it is almost charming. Thankfully, the film isn’t so technologically minded that it is drowned in these details. Whilst not nearly as deliriously cheesy as THE RECORD (2001) - its fellow South Korean slasher from the same time - BLOODY BEACH is well made, with occasional bouts of suspense and has much more splashy gore than many of its North American contemporaries from the same time.

 

BODYCOUNT  bodycount!   female: 4 / male: 4

1) Female stabbed with the neck with a knife
      2) Female stabbed in the stomach (dream sequence)
      3) Male found stabbed to death
      4) Female stabbed in the head with a knife
      5) Male stabbed in the neck with garden shears
      6) Male run over with a car
      7) Male hacked to death with an axe
      8) Female found dead

 

 

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