The Cat (Go-hyang-i: Jook-eum-eul Bo-neun Doo Gae-eui Noon)
South Korea 2011, 143m, Pine House Film
DVD: Matchbox Films, Cert 15
So-Yeon (Min-Young Park) works in a pet grooming salon. When a customer dies suddenly and mysteriously, she takes custody of their pet cat, Silky. That's when So-Yeon becomes haunted by the ghost of a bob-haired girl with green, cat-like eyes, and people around her begin to die...
So, how did this little gem wait around so long for a UK release?
Whilst it would be easy to dismiss The Cat as a Dark Water lookalike, it's worth remembering that there are traits in both tales which can be found all over far-eastern ghost stories and legends. Besides, The Cat has plenty of aces of its own to play, and director Seung-wook Byeon handles an array of set pieces brilliantly, wisely realising that in a tale like this, it's a good thing to give the audience a little, and let them paint the rest in their mind. He also handles the feline players well, since they're often not the most co-operative of actors... If you allow yourself to be pulled in, The Cat will get right under the skin, and you would need a heart of stone not to be moved by the climax.
In the lead, Min-Young Park carries the bulk of the film on her shoulders, and does a tremendous job. If you're after easy thrills, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand you want a tale you can really absorb yourself in, and a lead you really attach yourself to as she travels into darkness, then The Cat is highly recommended.
DVD Notes: Not the best presentation you'll see, unfortunately. It looks like an NTSC copy was transferred directly to PAL, causing some image ghosting and other artifacts. This film deserves much, much better.