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Karaoke Crazies (2016) – FILM REVIEW

With a mixture of tragedy, comedy and a taboo concept, Karaoke Crazies will have you in complete awe.

Based in a small town, in an unpopular noraebang 노래방 that is about to go out of business. The owner Sung Wook 숭욱 (Lee Moon Sik 이문식), isn’t getting much business, and advertises for a live-in helper.  His advert is answered by a strange girl that is dressed inappropriately for the weather; and has been completely drenched by torrential downpour.

The girl Ha-Suck (Bae So Eun 배소은),  acts very strange, and barely speaks. Customers start to complain that the new helper doesn’t make their Karaoke experience fun; and they start to ask for refunds. Sung Wook tells Ha Suck that her behaviour needs to change!

All of a sudden business is booming, and Sung Wook soon realises that Ha Suck is giving customers “extras.” He then decides to hire another helper, who is against this brothel-like situation, and continues to entertain her customers in the more traditional way.

Na Joo  (Kim Na Mi 김나미) is the complete opposite to Ha Suck, as she is quirky, full of life and lives outside of the noraebang. Little information is given away about her, but we soon find out that she is working to provide for her young daughter- whom she is hiding from her abusive ex-partner.

Without giving too much away, he turns up and is unmasked as a wanted serial killer, who only targets female noraebang hosts!

We are also introduced to a deaf character, that has also gone through trials and tribulations. He is found squatting in the premises.

What I enjoyed the most about this film, is that slowly each characters’ past and mutual hurt is revealed in a chilling and unexpected way. Each personal story is sad and completely tragic.

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During the Q&A, the director (Kim Sang Chan 김상찬) gave us some very interesting information. He said that the reason every character, except for Na Joo, hid away, was due to their fear of people. This was caused by their singular traumas; and the writer single handedly decided the suffering of each character.

This explains why the majority of the film was filmed in the noraebang, and Na Joo often tried to encourage each character to leave, for social reasons. When she eventually convinced them too, everything spiralled out of control, as the public, for a number of different reasons, heckled them. At this point, we understand a lot more about each character, including Na Joo, herself.

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Fun Fact:

The only two real locations that were used in filming, was the restaurant they visited, and the reservoir. The noraebang was in fact a studio set!

We also noticed that food played a big part in this movie, and the director said it had no actual meaning, except that he wanted it to look appealing, and tasty to Korean people!

I would highly recommend this movie, as each actor gives a moving performance, and everything was easy to follow; even though there were a number of back stories.

The people I felt the most empathy for were Ha Suck, and the deaf man. My reasons? Watch for yourself, and you’ll see why!

 

Shari Coakley

Longing to travel, and document my experiences. A vast taste in music; always enthused by culture and people. Favourite city so far? Seoul...<3

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