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Bizarre, unpredictable and downright silly at times (even for 70’s horror standards), Seven Dead in the Cat's Eye is an Italian gothic tale of mystery and terror that fits a horror formula well, but it’s everything that a true horror flick isn’t (is there such a thing anyway?). Its gothic imagery and claustrophobic spaces that invoke a sense of dread and despair hasten the audience to feel exactly what director Antonio Margheriti wants them to: no more or no less. On the other hand, the exaggerated soundtrack and abrupt change of camera angles do not deepen the mystery further, and provide for a clumsy storytelling worthy of ultimate cult status. ... Read full review »
This begins with one of the best pre-credit scenes I’ve seen in a while, featuring a deer knocked down and apparently killed by a flustered van driver. Moments later, the crumpled body in the road judders back into life, struggling to stand. As it does so, we see its eyes – dead and milky. The creature has joined the ranks of the living dead! Next we meet sulking child Soo-an (Kim Su-an), who is upset because her father Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) works all the time and spends no time with her. I have a problem with ... see more this kind of thing, and other similar scenes in other films. Perhaps the child would be less brattish if the parents gave up work and instead of a WII (or two) to play with, she had a stick and a clementine. Hardly! “Dads get all the bad rap and no praise,” says big soft husband Sang-hwa (Dong-seok Ma) at one stage. Seok-woo, however, has his own story to tell … Anyway, this distant father and child are but two passengers who board the train to Busan, amid news reports of violence and rioting in the streets, and also a wayward passenger exhibiting symptoms of a strange and deadly disease. And we’re off. Whilst the rapid transformations of many passengers into zombies relies perhaps too heavily on the actors’ facial mannerisms and comes across often as ‘over-enthusiastic’ acting, there’s no denying the effect of an enclosed body of people reverting into killers in some tensely choreographed scenes. My favourite character might well be Michael Ripper-like Yon-suck (Kim Eui-sung), self-serving CEO who does everything, and betrays everyone, in order to survive amidst the spitting, fast-moving zombie creatures. In one of my favourite scenes, the ringtone of a mobile phone in another carriage is used to successfully deflect the attentions of the ravenous pack. Watching them charging as one toward the source of the sudden, tinny music, is very effective. Every possible drop of tension is wrung out into the running time. For a while whilst watching ‘Last Train to Busan’, I felt there was something holding it back from greatness. Brilliant direction, acting and urgent pacing – however, I couldn’t get completely immersed in it. And then, somewhere along the way, that changed and I was hooked. The tension is impossible to resist. What a journey!
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