Sunday 23 March 2008

Acacia (2003)

Dr Kim Do-il and his wife Choi Mi-sook are apparently unable to have children, so they decide to adopt. Actually Mi-sook takes some convincing but when she sees some artwork on the wall of the adoption agency they visit, she's all for it and quickly finds an affinity with young Lee Jin-sung, soon to be Kim Jin-sung. He's quite the budding artist and he has an affinity of his own: with trees. He draws them all the time and even seems to talk to them, including one in the back yard. Soon we discover that he's an orphan because his mother died and Jin-sung believes she turned into a tree.

Things seem to go pretty well for a while, though Mi-sook's mother is rather brutal in her rejection of the adopted son, but then Mi-sook becomes pregnant for real so there's a new member of the household. To say the least, Jin-sung does not take this well and does what he can to remedy the situation. Given that this is a horror film, albeit of the school of slow and creepy rather than rapid fire grossout, you can imagine what that means. And then he disappears and as even more bizarre things start to happen the strain begins to have an effect on those he leaves behind.

Six year old Oh-bin Mun gives a powerful performance as Jin-sung in what may currently be his only film. He would be a good candidate for a Korean remake of The Omen, but of course the trend is the other way round. We're busy remaking their films, not vice versa. The parents are both solid too, combining well conflicting emotions or characteristics: loving but hateful, conscientious and neglectful, decent but drawn to extremes.

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