Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Same School. New Rule.: Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp (2010)

Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp (Gosa 2) (Korea, 2010)
starring:  Jeong-eum Hwang, Su-ro Kim and Hyeon-sang Kwon

I find it odd that I find myself here, sitting, doing a review for a movie that's barely heard of or clamored. I find this situation funny since this particular film is a sequel to one of Korea's well-known cult-movie. I was expecting a stronger approach to this, but I think I can point out the reasons why most of us couldn't.

The first Death Bell was a sleeper success on its premiere; Western fans loved the gory-cliched antics as Korea took slasher film with much ante and gusto. Not for long, this sequel was greenlit but upon viewing, I can easily tell there's a few spiff lacking here; it's basically a rehashed plot of the original movie, with less thrills, and almost no connection to the first.

The film start off around the same campus from the first movie, everybody walking around as if nothing horrible had happened a few years back. My guesses were that the campus had enough moola to cover-up bad publicity or this is an entirely different school, only "coincidentally" looking like a carbon copy of the original's high school.

And with the same gig as before, 20 something students passed and must prepare for a special study session, only to have a slasher in a motor bike helm kidnapping some of them, lacing medical pills, making badass looking motorbikes, and yes, killing them off in revenge of a dark secret concerning this class and a murdered athlete some years ago.

A different kind of tire-slashing!
Director Yoo Sun Dong took little effort building any tension or suspense, as the story already gave away who was killed and what had happened that fateful night. However, what Death Bell 2 lacked in plot power had it made in narrative and mystery rather than gore. The fast-pace of the film left very little time on the kills and more on solving on who're involved in the murder some years ago, as well as who could be the killer offing them now. Due to this, the whodunit plot line is considerably thought on in this movie and more compelling than one would expect; arguably warmer and tugs more heart strings in a dramatic passion.

In turn, most of the characters never actually got that much time to be felt for by the audience. Save, of course, the two to three possible leads in the story, who they themselves are also involved with the Athlete's murder. This only highlights their purpose as meat for their demise, curiously leaving out the SAW-style," moral-in-pain" idea and just get on with the killings like an ordinary slasher. It's not as gory as the first Death Bell, but it still packs some innovative set-pieces like one that takes place along the school corridors, with the killer riding a motorbike with metal spikes on its wheels. It's an oddity, but it works.
Tell me! Tell me if I'll get paid for a sequel!
As if the first movie wasn't original enough to begin with, Death Bell 2 is a standard follow-up to a rather strong movie. It may lack the same raw execution and gore power that the first have but in terms of narration and mystery, Death Bell 2 had its ideas and knew how to handle it at a level. Far from perfect but still a fair shot for what it is.

1 female bashed against a mirror
1 female had her neck broken in fall
1 male repeatedly slashed by bladed motorbike
1 female poisoned by laced pills
1 male shot to death by automatically triggered nailgun
1 male found knifed on the gut
1 male pushed inside a negative-filled room, "baked" alive
1 female hits her head on a sink (flashback)
1 female beaten to death (?)
1 female hanged with noose
total: 10

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