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The Piper

  • Film
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

One mustn’t forget to keep their promises. That’s the moral of the morbid Brothers Grimm tale “The Pied Piper”, which gets a twisted reworking in new summer mystery-chiller The Piper. A quick reminder for those who fell asleep during story time, the Grimm tale tells of a small, wealthy village which becomes engulfed with an infestation of rats. An itinerant flautist comes a knockin’ and offers to rid them of their plague for a price. The piper blows his tune and the rodents follow him into a mountain but when the villagers renege on the payment, he plays the same trick on their children.

Kim Gwang-tae’s debut film gives the piper a son and sets the action in a secret village in the mountain in the wake of the Korean War. The pleasantries and omens of the first hour embellish the original story and set the stage for a gruesome final act that mixes in novel and very Korean-style twists.

An affable Ryoo Seung-ryong prances his way through the narrative while Lee Sung-min’s village chief adds a dose of gravitas and Chun Woo-hee’s guileless village girl needles in a twinge of humanity. Frequently arresting and blowing a breath of originality into this year’s stale crop of commercial Korean fare, Kim’s film only falters with a needlessly lengthy setup and a few inchoate sideplots. Those minor grievances aside, The Piper remains a wickedly fun gust of chills that is just the ticket to beat the heat this season.

Written by Pierce Conran (Producer at 2Mr Films, film critic for Twitchfilm and KOFIC)

Cast and crew

  • Director:Kim Gwang-tae
  • Cast:
    • Ryoo Seung-ryong
    • Lee Sung-min
    • Chun Woo-hee
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