Korean Film Review – Who’s That Knocking at My Door?

Who’s That Knocking at My Door
(저수지에서 건진 치타)

Directed by Yang Hae-hoon

Action / Thriller

88 minutes

 

This month, I decided to go back a ways in an attempt to look at some Korean movies that may have been overlooked by most foreigners. This led me to Yang Hae-hoon’s 2007 drama “Who’s That Knocking at My Door.”

 

The film follows the lives of several strangers:  Je-hwi (Im Ji-gyu), a lonely recluse who was bullied at school; Pyo (Pyo Sang-woo), a thuggish bully who still thinks he’s living out his high school days; Pyo’s girlfriend Ro-mi (Im Ji-yeon); the hypochondriac Byeong-cheol (Jo Seong-ha), who is positive he is dying; and Jang-hee (Yun Chae-yeong), who takes a liking to Je-hwi.

 

As we watch these relatable characters go on with their daily lives, we see a chance meeting between Je-hwi and Pyo who reminds protagonist, Je-hwi, of the constant torment he endured at the hands of Pyo as a child.

 

When Je-hwi begins to confide in Byeong-cheol, what starts out as a seemingly childish plan to take revenge on someone who was a source of such misery soon gets out of hand and takes a terrible turn for the worse.

 

I’ve seen a lot of films recently in which many of the actors and scenes felt easily interchangeable. The standard cycle of emotions often covers rage, goofball slapstick or a sea of tears, with most movies seeming to follow a generic path.

 

But “Who’s That Knocking” is the total antithesis of those tropes. Between its slow build and understated acting, I would liken it to a Kim Ki-duk film, not in terms of content, but definitely in terms of style: Single camera set-ups, naturalistic lighting and restrained performances from the actors make it reminiscent of the British kitchen-sink dramas of old. The film was subtle and realistic, yet still managed to create tension as the plot unfolded and headed into thriller territory.

 

If you have the time and care for a film that challenges you more than the average release, I’d definitely consider giving this little-known gem a chance. 

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