Saturday, October 16, 2010
Almost skipped this a few weeks ago, but thanks to a slight case of insomnia, I found a new favorite. I usually prefer Sundance's Asia Extreme with a large helping of the supernatural — good ghost stories are so hard to find these days. The Chaser sounded like a run-of-the-mill thriller with a side of torture porn. A former cop-turned-pimp matches wits with the serial killer who's been preying on his girls.
There's some violent imagery, heart-pounding suspense and even a surprising dash of humor sprinkled along the way, but more than anything, Chaser succeeds because it manages to defy expectations. Here, the antagonist is nabbed fairly early, but the fate of one his victims is uncertain. The police are in a race against time to prove the suspect is indeed a notorious killer, while our pimp protagonist searches for a missing prostitute that he believes is still alive.
I think aspiring screewriters sometimes focus too much on finding that big idea. Anyone can luck out and trip over a high concept premise. However, the story still can't write itself. It comes down to execution. This could have easily turned into a bad Se7en clone with everyone being two steps behind demented-but-brilliant killer. Stories about serial killers, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, etc. are nothing new in Horror, but it takes a good storyteller to make them feel like they're brand spanking...
FUN FACT(S): The film was inspired by a real Korean serial killer. And don't worry, Subtitle Haters. A remake is already in the works from the folks who gave us The Departed. Oh Goody...(I'd check it out though)
And it looks like someone uploaded the original to youtube. Here's part (1/13):