film: haunters

The American Scream

“Jump up and make a bush noise!”

The American Scream is a lovely tender documentary about normal people, who get serious about decorating their house for Halloween.

I don’t know whether the intent was to make a freakshow about the oddballs, but humans are odd, and all the families in the show are so lovely. Being passionate about the smallest, strangest things is so human and universal; even if you’re not into halloween, you will know that feeling and connect to it. All the haunters are sweet guys saying stuff like “this is what I think I’m good at” or “Sometimes I can’t believe that I actually made that!” or “I’m not a great artist” or “family is everything to me”.

I gotta say. American home haunts, as far as I’ve seen, are a bit haphazard for my taste. I do haunts and they are all about atmosphere, and focus - I’d never put a giant spider near a vampire and a ghost in a graveyard. That’s four different aesthetics.

It’s also not a very exciting doc. I’m surprised it’s 90 minutes long. This would make a natural 45 minute special; I’m not certain the subject warrants a whole hour and a half movie. Unless you’re, er, a haunter frantically taking envious notes.

The drama is on the level of “I always wanted two bathrooms. We have one.” Little human things. There is and there should be a place for observations of the small things in life; I think it says a lot about what’s it like to be part of an ordinary American family. Just know your heart-rate will not be shifted by this film (unless the words “2 days to Halloween” set off a veteran haunter’s panic response!).

Sweet; non-challenging; a testament to the human spirit!; will make you wish it was October again already.

“I was taken aback that Vic would make this much work for himself”


Haunters (초능력자)

Director: Kim Min-seok

Starring: Kang Dong-won, Go Soo

Year: 2010

Synopsis: Cho-In can control other people’s minds when they are within his field of sight.Except one man.

Warnings: strong violence, moderate coarse language

Recommended for: fans of good vs evil films, superheroes or even for just those people who enjoy Asian cinema.


The first thing I’ll say is that I put off watching this movie for quite awhile. I’m not entirely sure why…maybe the superhero plot just didn’t draw me in at first. But today I was looking for something to watch and I decided to give in and pop Haunters in my DVD player and I must say Im very glad I did.

Haunters was a very different and original take on a story about two individuals with special abilities and how one of them uses their skills for evil and the other tries desperately to stop them. From the very first scene up until the very last you can’t help but be drawn in by these strange characters lives as they clash throughout this korean sci-fi/thriller film.

Both Kang Dong-won and Go Soo are great as both their respective characters with Kang being particularly terrific as the soulless yet sympathetic villain with the power to control those who he can see in his line of vision. Another real surprise on the acting front was that of the two main foreigner characters (they could actually act! Unlike most foreigner actors in Korea films…*cough cough*… Joint Security Area).

The film is put together well and it doesn’t lag at any real stage and resists the urge unlike most Korean films to keep its running time under 2 hours. The constant intrigue and action help keep the viewers attention at all times throughout. The director does a great job of not over explaining the characters abilities leaving the viewer to be surprised in certain scenes throughout the film. The films final scene set in the Seoul subway chucks in one last surprise twist which I myself didn’t see coming and I thought was a great way for this accomplished film to end.

Overall Haunters is a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable film which takes a fresh look at the good vs evil genre. This along with the great acting makes this another great film to come out of Korea in recent years and I urge you to check it out if you get the chance.

Side Note: A Japanese remake of “Haunters” titled “Monsters” is currently in the works with a release date set for sometime in 2014.

Overall Score: 8.5/10