STUDIO: TLA Releasing
MSRP: $19.99
RATED: Unrated
RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes

  • Trailer
  • Stills Gallery

The Pitch

Asians mess with your brain. The result is a haunted hospital.

The Humans

Jeon Mu-song, David L. McInnis, Kim Tae-woo, Lee Dong-gu and Kim Bo-gyeong

One more incision and then we’ve got another vote for Norm Coleman.

The Nutshell

Asian Horror is starting to irritate the fuck out of me. Sure, there’s the stylistic differences between the East and the West. But, cinema doesn’t handle ambiguity that well. The film centers around what haunts the individual. We take a look at how surgery, direct manipulation and other outside forces could lead to trouble. What trouble? The film doesn’t really feel like it has to address the horrific results. It just runs everything through a flashback or a dark filter.

Old Asian Man says clip clop. About .00000002% of the Internet laughs.

The Lowdown

Epitaph presents the main horror as something that’s being struggled to be remembered. Showing us footage from a war-time brain surgery on a Japanese Imperial Army officer, we see how the human mind can be directly altered. Now, we make our first jump in time to 1979. A Korean collegiate anatomy class is being dressed down by their professor, as he wonders why no one takes this material seriously. The main action begins, as the Professor flashes back to his time under Japanese occupational rule.

Active viewing isn’t something that the average American desires. We watch a film or put on a DVD and expect it to directly challenge us. When we don’t get that approach, it confounds and then infuriates us. Epitaph takes such a laid-back approach to this with its multiple flashbacks. By the time, that we take the third jump to World War II…most people will throw their hands in the air. I don’t recommend indulging such frustrations as there is a story to be told.

Given enough time, Nooj will sketch this as well.

The film hits a wall when you close in on the finale and realize that the story sucks. Many other filmmakers have tried to reinterpret the ghost story before the Jung Brothers came along. Filtering the horror through the memories of an outside survivor isn’t new. Neither are the scare scenes with a surprising amount of gore. Then, when the filmmakers can’t engage the audience…they turn to the Eastern spooky sensibilities. A woman doesn’t cast a shadow or a young girl seeing startling visions of dead relatives.

Capraville Japan. Salaryman and Super-Vibrating Honorable School Girl.

I appreciate what the Jung Brothers were trying to do. The role of a directly involved survivor doesn’t get engaged in American Horror. But, there’s not enough material to hold a viewer’s attention. Everybody involved is so actively passive that you find your mind wandering at points where the dialogue is driving a story. Dialogue-driven horror doesn’t really work. It’s like drinking non-alcoholic beer to get drunk. Following in the grand tradition of Horror even from the Grand Guignol days, horror lives and dies by its visuals. Give us some stimulation, Asia.

The rest of the package is just as bare as the main plotline. You get a trailer and some stills shot during the production. That’s it. You like photos? You like trailers? Well, you can forgive this DVD.

Cotton Hill wouldn’t know who to kill first.

The Package

DVD for Epitaph only contains a trailer and some stills from the production.
In this day and age, that’s a joke. When you do that, you’re telling the world that you couldn’t haven been bothered to shoot something around the set. Hell, a good commentary takes no more than six hours to record. The Jung Brothers are flipping off their North American fans with this release.

5.0 out of 10