• A Record Of Sweet Murder (Unearthed Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Unearthed Films
    Released on: May 28th, 2019.
    Director: Kôji Shiraishi
    Cast: Je-wook Yeon, Kkobbi Kim, Tsukasa Aoi, Ryôtarô Yonemura
    Year: 2014
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    A Record Of Sweet Murder – Movie Review:

    Soyeon (Kkobbi Kim) is a young South Korean woman who works as a journalist. Her life takes a strange turn when she gets a phone call from an old schoolmate named Sangjoon (Je-wook Yeon) who has recently escaped from a mental hospital and gone on a killing spree. In fact, he claims to have murdered eighteen people and he’s willing to give her an exclusive – but there are some conditions. First of all, she has to meet him at an agreed upon location. She also has to use a Japanese cameraman. And third? The whole interview has to be done in one take.

    Soon enough, Soyeon and her cameraman (director Kôji Shiraishi himself) arrive at an old abandoned apartment complex to record his story. Soon after their arrival, Sangjoon and demands they hand over their phones, agreeing to return them when they’re finished. He also tells them he’s actually killed twenty-five people, the other seven just haven’t been discovered by the authorities yet. From there, he tells Soyean things that tie into their collective past and admits to them that he hears God talking to him and that he’s got to kill two more people to reach twenty-seven, the number, he claims, God told him to hit in order to bring his dead childhood friend back to life, as will all twenty-seven of his victims.

    Much better than your average low budget found footage picture, A Record Of Sweet Murder takes some interesting twists and turns during its eighty-six-minute running time. You’ve got to give writer/director Kôji Shiraishi full marks for taking things into some clever and unexpected directions, delivering a genuinely well-told story rather than just relying on found footage clichés like loud noises and jump scares. The film builds well, starting as a fairly standard ‘crazy serial killer’ story and then segueing into some increasingly more unusual, and disturbing, territory, all of which leads up to an impressive and well-played finale. If the whole found footage thing is overdone at this point (and let’s face it, it really is), it doesn’t matter here because Shiraishi manages to use it very effectively. As such, it never feels like a gimmick, but rather the proper way to tell this particular story. Of course, the fact that this can all be done for a lot less than a standard narrative film probably came into play here as well, but it works even if at times it feels more than a little stagey.

    The acting is solid across the board. Kkobbi Kim is likeable and more importantly, believable as a reporter. She comes across as smart and resourceful and is well cast in this role. Kôji Shiraishi basically plays his part off-camera, which makes total sense in the context of what’s done here, but he’s fine. Je-wook Yeon, however, steals most of the film. He’s frighteningly convincing in his role as the deranged Sangjoon, never overdoing it but always playing the part with complete conviction.

    A Record Of Sweet Murder – Blu-ray Review:

    Unearthed Films brings A Record Of Sweet Murder to Blu-ray on a 25GB disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. This was shot digitally and often with handheld cameras to give the movie that found footage look. As such, detail is all over the place, sometimes looking crisp and sharp and other times looking soft and fuzzy – camera movements can happen quickly here and are partially responsible for this. Obviously, there’s no print damage or grain to talk about. Given the intended look of the movie, it’s probably a pretty safe assumption that this is how the movie is meant to look.

    The Japanese/Korean language LPCM2.0 stereo track, which comes with optional English subtitles, is on par with the video presentation in that it is reflective of the found footage style that Shiraishi and company have employed here. There’s some decent channel separation in the more action intensive scenes but this is, for the most part, a dialogue-heavy film. There’s also a strange anomaly with the English subs on this disc some lines feature <> characters in front of them – likely a formatting error that didn’t get caught before mass production.

    Extras are limited to a trailer for the feature and bonus trailers for 100 Tears, Brutal, Collar, Dis, House Of Forbidden Secrets, Night Wish and The Song Of Solomon. Menus and chapter selection are also included.

    A Record Of Sweet Murder – The Final Word:

    A Record Of Sweet Murder is well-done. It uses the found footage motif effectively, features some strong performances and effective locations and tells an interesting and genuinely shocking story. Unearthed Films’ Blu-ray release is light on extras but it looks and sounds about as good as you can realistically expect given the movie’s origins. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized A Record Of Sweet Murder Blu-ray screen caps!