Like your detective movies? How do you feel about period dramas? What about a little bloodthirsty horror to round off your day? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think we've got you covered. Kim Dae Sung brings us Blood Rain, an intriguing thriller set in 19th century Korea.
A slew of grisly murders are plaguing a small isolated island village, and even though everybody is dying, nobody seems to want to leave. With the killer on the loose, the government sends in special investigator Wong Gyu (Cha Seung Won) to crack the case. He might not look like Sherlock Holmes, or in fact Professor Layton for that matter, but he does solve riddles and often sports a rather fetching hat. Sort of. While conducting his dogged investigation – without the aid of an annoying sidekick – he uncovers a barrage of hidden secrets, tracing the murders back to an incident that occurred some time before.
Blood Rain is a peculiar mix for sure, and it’s the curious blend of genres that works best. It’s been quite a while since I sat down to watch a detective movie; they really don’t make them like this anymore. The closest you will get these days is CSI and believe it or not, Wong Gyu does ‘come over’ all Gil Grissom every once in a while. Perhaps I should rephrase that last line. Maybe it’s the condescending manner he adopts in order to explain his findings, perhaps it’s just his dopey facial hair, whatever the reason, Wong Gyu takes his job incredibly seriously.
There's not a single joke in the entire movie. But then, we are talking about a holiday destination that would make Harpers Island look welcoming. So maybe the drunken guy is the only smart resident after all. Despite the fact that Blood Rain looks like a period drama, the movie never gets boring because there are so many twists and turns waiting to be played out. Not to mention a fine line in bloodthirsty murder and gory set pieces. It really is an intriguing blend of modern horror and period sensibilities.
The decision to set Blood Rain in the past gives the movie a lavish appearance, and the cinematography is stunning throughout. With the advent of Lost and the aforementioned Harpers Island, I’m not quite sure why anybody would want to live in a place like this, but it does make for a unique spin on the detective drama. Be warned though, if you’re not a fan of bloody carnage and shocking violence (what are you doing on this page?) Blood Rain might not be your particular brand of biscuits. Gore hounds will love the attention to detail and the excessive bloodletting will please those with murder in mind. Besides, the film is called Blood Rain. What were you expecting, cute kittens and pink balloons?
Problems arise when it comes to character development. Very little insight is given to their pasts or personalities and I didn’t find myself routing for any of them. The characters are largely forgettable for the most part, and occasionally it feels as though they are on standby to fill in the blanks. Much like the cast of CSI but without the hi-tech gadgetry.
Blood Rain remains a worthwhile change of pace and the curious blend of genres is enough to see you through an entertaining night of mystery and deathly design. It’s not perfect by any means, but fans of the murder mystery period horror genre will find plenty to enjoy. Which is a good thing really, because it might be a while before they see another one. AW