MURDER DEATH KOREATOWN / CERT: 15 / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
A murder in a neighbouring apartment leads our unseen and unnamed filmmaker to delve deep into a spiralling enigma, which he documents on video tape.
As the investigation begins, we - and the filmmaker - are not sure whether the young woman did kill her boyfriend. After discovering blood on the pavement outside, he starts to convince himself there’s something more sinister at work. Indeed, things he finds in the street - be it cryptic graffiti or rambling of a homeless man - convince him that the ‘Pastors’ have something to do with the mystery many think he has concocted himself.
Shaky cam found footage films are like Marmite for viewers, and this writer can’t claim to be a fan of them, but Murder Death Koreatown brings a unique edge to the format. The (very) unreliable narrator, like so many crackpot YouTube commentators, draws us into his theory of the Pastors. Like those who follow the conspiracy theorists, he becomes enveloped by it, seeing facts in the most innocuous things. The line between fact and fiction is effectively blurred (there are websites from 2017 that report the murder), and, like The Blair Witch Project, which effectively utilised the early Internet to stir excitement and build terror, there is no credit given to the filmmakers or actors. Although the majority of what we see on screen appears to be unrehearsed, it’s been put together far too well for the work of an obsessed amateur.
The true horror of the film doesn’t involve the murder or even the bizarre people seen on the street. What we’re presented with here is more than a simple found footage movie, it’s a convincing descent into paranoia and cognitive breakdown.