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Acacia (KOREA 2003)

Director : Ki-Hyung Park
Cast : Hye-jin Shim, Jin-geun Kim, Oh-bin Mun and Na-yoon Jeong.

Korean director Ki-Hyung Park (WHISPERING CORRIDORS) continues his exploration of the supernatural with the thriller ACACIA. After a couple’s efforts to conceive continually end in disappointment, they adopt young Jin-seong, whose mother has died. Jin-seong seems drawn to a tree in the couple’s backyard, constantly climbing and drawing pictures of it. But when his new mother finally manages to become pregnant, Jin-seong disappears, and a number of strange occurrences–and dead bodies–pile up, all seemingly centered on the mysterious tree.

by Edward Tang

It’s really hard to like a film when it’s basically a slow moving film that really doesn’t establish any new ground for the horror film. Watching this was painful, probably to blame on the editing if anything. We would get from scene to scene, we’d see the events occur and then we’d cut to the tree. Oh yeah, let me make that clear, this film is about a f*ckin’ tree. This might be an indication that maybe I should have stayed away from it, but I made a mistake again. Sure the film looks nice, but that’s the mark of a typical horror flick, awesome looking shots to go along with a crappy story. I couldn’t follow along with the story because it seemed like nothing truly happened, the characters were unlikable and their sudden transformation into psychos just didn’t work. I don’t really know what you could get out of this film other than a painful experience that should leave you disappointed and angry.

The story follows this suit: Family adopts this little kid and he’s kinda weird (Cliche #1), in the aspect that he has some weird fascination with trees. So everything is going good (Cliche #2) except for some negative words from a relative. Then the mother gets knocked up and she has a baby, which pisses off the little kid. Things change and so forth, the little kid “runs” away. But that’s not the case at all! The parents actually killed the little kid and buried him! So then we go through the motions, people dying in weird ways (Cliche #3) and we get the twist ending (Cliche #4). Really this film looked like it was trying to give a public message: ADOPTING CHILDREN SUCKS. The story had so many holes and was typically boring, the first half of the film consisted of basically nothing worth mentioning. Then the second half basically went into the killing faze, a bunch of weird imagery mixed in with people dying by ants. The film was so choppy, that I just got tired of waiting for the conclusion, which came and did what I figured.

Then to the classic cliche with little weird children, which is old and should stay in the earlier films. Kids aren’t creepy anymore, because you can easily punt them out of the way or just drop them on the street and you won’t see them again. To mention one of the crappier parts of this film again: THE TREE! Can’t you just hear the scary music? I guess they have truly run out of ideas, a tree is the demonic force that gets too much screen time. I wonder what the tree had to suck to get noticed this much. Basically, nothing was shocking or eerie about this film, a quality that makes others. Sure there was a guy who got killed by ants and a weird looking rape scene but nothing else seemed to click. Some horror flicks get you running with them, you actually want to see the characters get up and succeed, let them die in this one.

I guess this film was well shot, but that’s not saying much. I really got irritated with the pace of the film, very long with little results. Scenes seemed to just be added in as time went along, there was one in particular that showed the rapist/killer father watch as these two are crossing the street, and a car almost hits them. WHY? I guess they figured that if they threw anything on the screen, it would probably be seen by most idiots including myself. As for the visual influence, we got what looked like a bunch of red yarn thrown all over the house. Yippee indeed. It’s hard to get into a scene jammed full with forced emotion when people are sitting on red yarn. The CHASE at the end of the film was dumb, and then when we are finally given the results on what actually happened, we check out the “CLICHE HANDBOOK” and find number #5, a different ending than what we originally thought! WOW INDEED! The parents killed the little kid and that was that. If the film wasn’t edited so horribly and had a little better of a story, it probably still would have sucked.

Then as far as the acting goes, we get the little weird kids. Yeah two of them this time, and no double the pleasure does not equal double the fun. It equals double the bowel problems (horrible pun, forgive me). The two little kids don’t say much and when they do, it looks like they were prompted by their parents off screen to do so. The wife and husband were basically just boring, their characters descend into the psychotic community was horrible, both acting so calm before and just spouting into this lunatic parade? Didn’t work for me. Is there a written rule that characters seem more scary just standing in one place? Because that seems to be the situation here, the little kids just staring at people for 5 minutes at a time. Basically the cast was basic for a crappy movie, a bunch of overacting when it called for it.

Sigh. Acacia is basically just another horror movie that will leave you a few minutes after you see it. Sure, it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen but most of the scenes are hard to get too. I had to force myself to finish this film, and the great one was disappointed once again. I’d pass on this film and stick with something that hasn’t really been beat into the ground and actually is semi-interesting. Adios.

Plot : 2/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 1/5
Overall : 1/5

Buy this movie at : YesAsia – Acacia

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