Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Killer Toon Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: An artist becomes implicated in a series of murders as her illustrations appear to be coming to life.

Review: The movies this month have been rough around the edges, to say the least, and, sadly, this film is no different. No wonder I've taken November off for the past 2 years! "Killer Toon" is easily a contender for most genre-confused film I've watched in recent years. They don't know whether to make this an emotional drama, supernatural horror, murder-mystery, thriller, or some abomination thereof. It's not that the ideas can't work in conjunction to one another, but the execution is a complete and utter mess. This isn't helped by the heap of cliches accompanied by a terrible and unbelievable ending. It's disappointing, again, because the film started off strong with an intriguing story but gradually fell apart.

The story begins with the main character, Ji-yoon, a popular artist, finishing up a new manuscript for her comic book series. When Ji-yoon's editor, or whatever she was, gets the drawings, the editor realizes they tell her own story; as a teen, the editor stood by while her mom committed suicide, and the mother was motivated to suicide by her as well. Beyond that revelation, the drawings also depict the present actions of the editor as she appears to be stabbed to death by the ghost of her mother. As the police investigate the incident, they rightfully suspect Ji-yoon to be involved, but it would appear all the forensic evidence points to the editor killing herself rather than murder.

You will notice many odd additions to the story that serve little purpose like Ji-yoon seeing a doctor claiming she can't understand why she has weird visions; the pointlessness of this will be demonstrated by the end as Ji-yoon knows perfectly well why she is the way she is. Along with these throwaway scenes, the film keeps hinting at the inclusion of ghosts but is unsure whether to add them into the plot or not; this kind of hesitation is how you lose the interest of the audience. They also pull the infamous dream within a dream shtick. Anyway, another person is going to be murdered as depicted in the drawings, but Ji-yoon tries to intervene and becomes implicated as a result. So, while the first half hour was going in the direction of a living killer, we then shift into a full-blown supernatural element. Those who harbor horrible secrets are being killed by the ghosts of the people they've wronged.

Well, what does any of this have to do with Ji-yoon's drawings? It would appear Ji-yoon is a fraud, and she was receiving the drawings by email from her old physical address. This is definitely the point in which the film loses itself completely. They try to create an association between Ji-yoon and the victims, but it doesn't quite add up. Furthermore, Ji-yoon believes she knows who was sending the emails: a girl named Seo-hyun. It would appear Seo-hyun had an uncontrollable urge to draw visions of death, and Ji-yoon used them as a means to establish herself as a famous artist. For some reason the cops keep dicking around, but we suddenly learn one of the cops was depicted in the drawings as he once ran over a little girl and left her to die. This cop appears to be killed by the ghost as the police, in general, want to drop the case due to all this talk about ghosts.

I have no idea how to properly explain the final act as it's forced drama like no one's business. The main cop, that can't let the case go, realizes that all of Ji-yoon's drawings have connected to a murder and that this isn't something new that just started with the editor. This then magically leads to Ji-yoon hanging out at that address where she was getting the emails. We then learn how Seo-hyun was actually murdered by Ji-yoon, because she tried to burn all the drawings. It would appear Seo-hyun really was talking to the dead, and they were telling her their stories which she drew. Somehow, this psychic power was passed to Ji-yoon when she strangled Seo-hyun to death. The cop shows up and tries to stop Ji-yoon, but she tries to kill him with an axe. Before the cop can shoot Ji-yoon we learn that this cop actually killed the other cop and it wasn't ghosts. Ugh. Because that was a necessary twist. The ghost of that particular cop magically intervenes to save Ji-yoon. The film ends with the idea that Ji-yoon will continue with her comics and apparently the ghosts will keep on killing. Riiight. And the cops will just ignore this I guess.

As you can tell, there are a lot of holes in the story. It was idiotic to make Ji-yoon appear to be baffled and confused by the incidents of the film when she was clearly the villain with full knowledge. The twist with the cop killing his partner was contrived as fuck. How exactly did no one find Seo-hyun's body since everyone thought she was alive somewhere? Speaking of which, wouldn't it have been a more fitting conclusion, and fit the themes better, if Seo-hyun's ghost killed Ji-yoon? And who the hell was sending the emails?! Why were the ghosts seeking revenge all of a sudden? What, they didn't want to act until the crimes they were about to commit were drawn?! I mean, hell, the editor's mom died like 10-20 years prior. Ghosts certainly love biding their goddamn time it would seem.

What started off as a straightforward film somehow devolved into an incoherent wreck. The entire presentation of the film's events become contradicted as the film progresses as we realize the characters shouldn't have done the actions they perform; all the while, the genre keeps bouncing all over the place. I feel like something was lost in the editing process or we missed a few necessary scenes to pull the story together. The final twists of the film felt tacked on and more for shock value than to add any kind of satisfaction to the viewer. Despite these horrendous problems with the story, the technical aspects are commendable. The actors perform well enough with the material they were given also. Finally, I can't ignore that there were good ideas under the mess. Like the last couple of films I've been reviewing, this one is on the mediocre side--interesting ideas brought down by shit direction. I suppose this film could possibly garner a viewing, but you have to seriously go with the flow and not pay close attention to the nonsensical plot points.

Notable Moment: When we meet the hitchhiker ghost. I mean, yes, it's such a timeless cliche, but I still find it amusing nonetheless.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

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