A Korean slasher film directed by In Soo Kim in 2000, aspects of Bloody Beach feel a bit dated nine years since it was made, but the film is still a fun watch that'll appeal to fans of horrordom's most beloved sub-genre.
When the movie begins, a group of internet friends who have been hanging out in the same chat room for ages but who have never actually met in person decide it's time to meet face to face. They plan a group camping weekend out at the beach, conveniently away from civilization, where they figure they'll get to know one another better and generally just hang out and have some good fun. Things start off well enough, with everyone getting along and seemingly in a good mood - one couple even heads to a car for a little conjugal alone time after having flirted with one another online for awhile, but soon things turn sour. A homicidal maniac is on the loose and starts picking off our campers one at a time.
With their ranks quickly dwindling, those who haven't been hacked to death quickly pool their resources to try and figure out not only how to escape from the killer, but who this person is and what their motive could possibly be - and therein lies the twist to what is otherwise a by-the-numbers affair.
Throwing in the whole 'these people know one another from a chat room' angle was probably a pretty unique idea nine years ago but by now, internet horror has been done to death and generally quite poorly at that. Let's face it - while there are plenty of loonies out there willing to mess with people online, which can unfortunately sometimes manifest into a real life problem for some, the internet itself isn't actually scary. Once you realize that, the film starts to feel devoid of tension and scares. Thankfully, director In Soo Kim seems to have realized that at just the right time, wisely throwing in a little bit of sex and a whole lot of violence, the latter of which is Bloody Beach's saving grace.
Bloody Beach has a very definite eighties feel to it, and that encapsulates both the good and the bad of the era. The good? The kill scenes. There are a few doozies in here and the filmmaker's aren't afraid to use their arterial spray effects budget wisely. Yes, some of the kills are maybe a bit too familiar for their own good (in one scene a victim has their fingers cut off by garden shears that might as well have once belonged to the killer in The Burning) but they're done well and feel more like tributes than actual rip offs. The film moves along at a good pace and doesn't waste time with... much of anything, though sadly that also means character development gets the shaft. Like so many of its predecessors, a large portion of the characters that populate this film are nothing more than knife fodder for our villain to hack his/her way through.
When it's all said and done, Bloody Beach isn't aiming to be high art. There are a few inspired and moderately artistic flourishes in terms of the camerawork and the lighting and the score, but for the most part you get the idea that those involved where more interested in delivering a few fun scares and some good old fashioned gore. On that level, the picture definitely works. The computer jargon used to set it up feels stale and unoriginal at this point and there are plot holes large enough to drive a Jeep through that the ending can't be bothered to even try to sort out, but when the movie is fun and entertaining in some cases you can overlook those flaws. This is one of those cases and if mindless teen slashers like this are your thing, give the film a shot. It's disposable and probably little more than a genre footnote, but as mindless entertainment it succeeds.
Bloody Beach arrives on DVD in an unimpressive 1.78.1 non-anamorphic interlaced transfer that shows some mild smeariness and periodic compression artifacts. Color reproduction is sufficient if unremarkable as are skin tones but there doesn't seem to have been a whole lot of effort into this presentation and the lack of anamorphic enhancement is definitely a big strike against the disc. The film is watchable enough, but there's definitely been some serious room left for improvement here.
The Korean language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track on this disc is of decent quality and the optional English subtitles are clear and easy to read even if they do contain the occasional awkward phrasing. There aren't any problems with hiss or distortion to report and while channel separation is never particularly inspired, at least the levels are properly balanced. This isn't anything to write home about but there aren't any problems with it.
Extras on this disc are limited to a trailer, menus and chapter stops as well as promos for other Pathfinder Pictures releases.
Bloody Beach won't win any awards for originality, but then again it isn't trying to. This is a film that wears its influences plainly on its sleeves, borrowing from some better known American classics and putting its own odd spin on it. It's a fun movie that worth a watch, but the DVD from Pathfinder is a pretty uninspired effort. Rent it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.