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STUDIO: Tartan
MSRP: $28.99
RATING: R
RUNNING TIME: 110 min.
SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Commentary
- Featurettes

THE PITCH

“A Vietnam War ‘guys-on-a-mission’ ghost story!”

THE HUMANS

Woo-seong Kam, Byung-ho Son, Tae-kyung Oh, Won-sang Park, other Koreans

THE NUTSHELL

During the Vietnam War, levelheaded Lieutenant Choi (Woo-seong Kam) is assigned to take a misfit squad of South Korean troops (they were American allies, in case you slept through four or more years of history class) to an isolated area known as R-Point to investigate the disappearance of a platoon several months earlier.  When they arrive at the location they discover an abandoned building, and begin to receive chilling radio transmissions and see strange apparitions.

Not long after, one of the soldiers is found mutilated.  But when they call in to report the casualty, they learn the dead man was (dun-dun-DUN) a member of the missing platoon they were sent to find.  Paranoia quickly sets in as the men realize they’re trapped in a remote area, and some kind of vengeful ghostly presence is toying with them.


Aside from Cooking with Toht and the four-hour stage show Willie Scott Sings the Super Hits of Pangkot, perhaps the most ill-advised of the Jones spinoffs was G.I. Short Round.

THE LOWDOWN

R-Point is often an effective psychological spook story, but it’s really more of a thriller with some supernatural elements than a straight-up horror flick, and the Vietnam backdrop is novel but perhaps not as relevant as the filmmakers intended. The movie establishes a creepy vibe early on with warning-engraved markers and those intensely eerie radio messages foreshadowing the condemned future of the troops, and a few unnerving scenes of quiet dread, like when a jittery soldier brings up the rear on a patrol of what turns out to be apparitions. At the center of R-Point itself is a big, crumbling stone building shrouded in fog and surrounded by ruins, and nothing but doom lurking inside the dank halls.

After successfully building such an unsettling atmosphere, the movie stumbles a bit in the third act with a somewhat disappointing payoff and familiar climax.  It’s also obvious right from the beginning that the sketchy stock characters are all wearing bulls-eyes — like most horror movies, it’s really just a matter of when and how they’ll meet their grisly end.  R-Point does also eventually incorporate the now-standard shambling female ghost with the long hair hanging in her face, but the movie is more reliant on situational scares and the reactions of the characters, and succeeds more often than not.


"For the love of sweet Pete’s prostate, you really did have the whole thing in there!"

THE PACKAGE

Even with all the deep darkness in the movie, it’s a great-looking transfer, and the ominous, clattering DTS audio track will raise every hair in your house, and possibly even some carpet. The “Making of R-Point” featurette covers a good bit of ground with on-set interviews and behind-the-scenes look at the grueling jungle shoot (on location in Cambodia), and there are two shorter documentaries focusing on the props and the special effects, though they both recycle some material from the main featurette. The subtitled commentary from writer/director Kong Su Chang, producer Choi Kang Hyuk, and location supervisor Kim Wan Shik really gets into the production process, often lamenting on the limitations of budget.

7.8 out of 10