Zombie flicks are ten a penny with “the infected” storyline becoming more and more favoured by film-makers these days. How about demon zombies then? Ok, that got my attention too… Director and writer Nick Calder takes us to South Korea in his genre offering Fear Eats the Seoul.
Nick Calder’s own website offers the following synopsis by way of introduction:
“We All Have Our Demons…
When South Korea is ravaged by a massive demon epidemic that nearly wipes out its entire population, four foreigners are forced to stick together to survive the fallout. After they encounter a Korean survivor who informs them that a nuclear purge of the country is imminent, they realize that escape is the only option. But nothing comes free, and to make it out alive they must overcome their differences and work together to confront not only the flesh-hungry demons waiting for them around every corner, but also the personal demons hiding within themselves.”
Setting aside my dislike for the pun-tastic title, I was looking forward to this film and within the first few minutes, I was drawn in to the story instantly. Proceedings open intriguingly and show a view of a nightmarish vision of Seoul with imagery that reminded me of something from Silent Hill- no mean feat since Silent Hill still stands as the only computer game to actually give me the creeps.
As the story unfolds, we are introduced to a number of Americans living in Korea, teaching English; and how they are coping with the subsequent outbreak/epidemic/demonic plague a month after the initial incident. The group themselves, although sharing a common job, are the usual mixed bag of disparate individuals but such an assortment allows Calder to tell his story.
I was most appreciative of the fact that all the effects were practical in nature, lending an element of realism to the film that may have been absent in a bigger budget project that may have employed CGI. There was a particularly nice kill involving chopsticks that I will leave you to find out about for yourself!
My only problem with the effects employed were the fingers of the infected/demons. They just seemed comical when I think they were meant to be claw or talon-like.
As for Calder’s undead/demons, I had no issue with them on the whole. My sole concern arose when one of the survivors came across one of the demons, who was still wearing spectacles and high heels. I know women that can’t last a Saturday night without breaking heels that big, what chance would a demonic zombie have in them after a month? I digress…
Within the first few scenes, I thought I was to be treated to a story that was perhaps a little more like a play: set within the survivor’s flat and dealing with their own emotions, fear, hunger; and their own personal demons. This was not to be the case as the film progresses to repetitive scens of the survivors scavenging and inevitably having to fight the undead.
The film itself was shot using handheld cams and results in many shaky scenes, close-ups, off-centre shots and generally trying my patience and giving me a headache; leading to a lack of comprehension on my part as to what is going on.
Fear Eats the Seoul is overall narrated by the protagonist and has some interesting moments. Nick Calder has created an impressive tale for his first feature film but for me, the movie really failed to satisfy. Many of the component parts here are truly well-done; Calder gets the most out of his cast with some convincing performances from those involved, the effects, mood and tone of the film are pitch-perfect but I can’t help but feel that the story could have been a little tighter, reducing the length of the movie, upping the pace and negating some of the more redundant scenes.
I look forward to seeing what Nick Calder has to offer the genre in the future.