IR Film Review: WARNING – DO NOT PLAY [Shudder]

The aspect of a film within a film concept is almost as old as the medium itself. While its progression has certainly become more meta in recent years, the concept still gets to the crucial aspect of the Id and what it means to created. The aspect in horror simply always comes down to how far an artist is willing to go for their art and the requisite harm it does. The thing about South Korean horror is that it has always led the way since there is a balance of old school superstition and modern perspective that revels in that culture. This is why in the early 2000s every film that was getting a remake was based on South Korean horror. Granted this inlay within “Warning: Do Not Play” has a bit of “The Ring” to it. Instead of a TV screen it is an old movie theater where a film was once shot and by extension a play. And there is a film that doesn’t want to be found that was pulled from a film festival that the protagonist is searching for. It is that conceit that plays into the journey here. But unlike South Korean films of yesterday, the balance of the lead female is changing.

There is a dexterity in the lead character here and yet a regression of sorts as well. It perhaps is less shown outwardly but the internal battle is still raging. Not that it is necessarily in the fact that she is female. There is a certain trauma that is based into her journey and why she does what she does. This element in many ways is left up to the audience for their own personification of why but it less affects the male counterpart that comes before her. The torture of the self is still the same but perhaps from a different mindset. While the theater is a construct, it has been used before. What is instead, more compelling and dark, it is her exploration at a broken person’s domicile that creates a sense of the darkness. It is like a reverse “Irreversible”. She is peering into is psyche which he himself cannot break down. This is what the horror has done to him. The imagery is there and yet the terror is more internal. The story does take a reflective turn at one point outside a time and space perspective. The idea of who the monster is and where it begins and ends is an interesting progression as is the perspective of light and dark.

This is a slight play on what entertainment can be in the modern world. Some is done for art. Some is done for commerce and yet the idea is it a simple reflection of ourselves. This is what the character here is indeed striving for. She is searching for that story that has never been told but yet where is the mirror or boundary she holds up for herself. She seems extremely detached even in the moment that she herself is being threatened. She can only experience it through the visual of her phone which is of course part of the film’s meaning. There is one character that is seemingly left out in the cold metaphorically but is never redeemed. That can be the beauty of a film like ths. Is it the idea of a morality or a play on certain details in the nature of human behavior.

B-

By Tim Wassberg

Posted on June 10, 2020, in Film Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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