Made in 1999, this Korean serial-killer thriller is strictly by the numbers – notably ‘Seven’, whose cadaver-sculpture and monsoon-season rainfall motifs are well aired throughout. Otherwise, it’s heaving with more conventional genre clichés: Detective Cho (Han Suk-Kyu), saddled with professional obstacles, personal trauma and a tubby, wisecracking partner who might as well have an expiry date stamped on his behind, is investigating a series of grisly limb-loppings. Demure Chae Su-Yeon (Shim Eun-Ha) is the link, ex-lover of each of the victims and burdened with an unenviable backstory of her own. Veiled warning against unchecked female sexuality apart, this is mostly concerned with po-faced exploitative sadism, painted in a garish, gloss palette and garnished with plaintive piano sonatas. Standout moments include an entirely gratuitous and inconsequential motorway pile-up triggered by one of several bin bags full of gore, and a scene in which Cho, having infiltrated the killer’s lair and found a trophy snuff video, chastely turns his gaze from the on-screen mutilation. The camera, of course, stares on.
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