Reviewed by Adrian Sim
Korean Title: Eolguleobtneun minyeo
International Title: Faceless Beauty
Director: Kim In-shik
Starring: Yun Chan, Kim Tae-wu, Kim Hye-su, Han Jeong-su
Country: South Korea
Year released: 2004
Runtime: 101 min
Hot wife suffers from a personality disorder. Sexually deprived husband philanders. Psychiatrist has the hots for the wife. When these worlds collide, you know you're in for mostly a B-grade steamy psychosexual thriller.
In Hypnotized, this idea takes an atypical route with a disjunctive narrative structure suffused with crafty stylistics.
Director Kim In-Shik seems more concerned in conjuring a Hitchcockian aura of dread, madness and mystery than logic. The end result is a terrifying psychological horror that quite remarkably mixes grotesque experimentalism with character pathos.
Kim is proving to be a notable director. His debut, Road Movie, was a tender buddy road movie that moved because of its subtleties and realism. Here, Kim goes a totally opposite direction by imbuing the story with piercing imagery and other loud fantastical elements like symbols.
The use of leitmotifs, e.g., reds, mirrors, the number '8' and fatalistic subplots, bring about a haunting sense of circularity. Like the recurrent symbolisms and incidents, the characters can't seem to get out of their maze of entanglements.
Hypnotized paints a demonic picture of love; love entraps and saps life. This suggestion is indeed frightening.