The Quiet Family (1998)

JEE-WOON KIM

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

Original Title: Choyonghan kajok

, 1998. . Screenplay by Jee-woon Kim. Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Film Editing by .  

A couple with a son and two daughters move with their brother to a country lodge that they have purchased at a low rate and plan to turn into a thriving inn.  Plans are thwarted almost immediately, they spend months sitting around keeping the place clean and prepped without a single customer showing up, until one day he finally does.  A lonely man checks in and asks for a private room, which they rent him with much excitement and ado (it’s a very funny scene when the whole family stands over as he inaugurates their booking chart).  When they next find him dead of suicide in his bed, they clean the place up and bury him as quickly as possible, terrified that if the word gets out it will kill a business that is already hanging by a thread.  Things are looking up when another couple checks in, but they follow their loud lovemaking with a suicide pact that necessitates further burials, after which the family know their place is cursed considering that what follows are violent murderers and the sudden announcement of roads being built whose construction will unearth their burial grounds.  Working itself up from its quirky early humour to its out of control, disturbing violence, the film is inventive but also a bit too clever for its own good, winking a bit too hard to the audience as it moves from one preposterous scene to the next, leaning too heavily on coincidence by the time it reaches the end.  Tiresome, but it has its moments.

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