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Suddenly in the Dark – Mondo Macabro (BluRay) 
Written by: on February 1st, 2017

Theatrical Release Date: South Korea, 1981
Director: Young Nam Ko
Writer: Sam-yuk Yoon
Cast: Il-bong Yun, Yeong-ae Kim, Ki-seon Lee, Hye-ri Han

BluRay released: February 14th, 2017
Approximate running time: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratios: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: LPCM Mono Korean
Subtitles: English
BluRay Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95

Synopsis: After the arrival, a young woman brought into the home to be their new house keeper. A wife starts to lose her grip on reality when she begins to suspect that her husband is having an affair with the housekeeper. Is she losing her mind or will she find that her suspicions were right?

Though there are many Horror elements in modern South Korean cinema that reaches western audiences. With films like Bedeviled, The Wailing and Train to Busan being prime examples of modern South Korean cinema. South Korean Horror films are still a genre that is still woefully underrepresented, when it comes to English friendly releases.

This brings us to Suddenly in the Dark, a film that comes from South Korean’s golden age for Horror cinema. Suddenly in the Dark was directed by Young Nam Ko, a prolific filmmaker who has just over one hundred films that he directed. And even more impressive about what he is able to create with Suddenly in the Dark, is the fact that it was his one and only foray into the Horror genre.

Content wise, this film has all the ingredients that one would want and expect from a Horror film. And though the film has a familiar premise, the way in which it is executed puts this film in a class all of its own. The characters are well defined, the narrative is well constructed and pacing is never an issue as each bizarre moment of terror is given just the right amount of time to resonate.

When discussing this film the one area that immediately springs to mind are its stylistic visuals which are reinforced by a robust color scheme. Standout moments include, a scene where the housekeeper is taking a bath shortly after her arrival and the wife assists her. Another standout moment includes, a scene where the wife almost dies after someone accidentally leaves the gas stove on. Of course, when it comes to memorable moments there are none more memorable then this film’s tour de force finally that gives this film a very satisfying conclusion.

Performance wise the entire cast are very good in their respective roles. With this film’s standout performance being Yeong-ae Kim (Confession of Murder, The Attorney) in the role of the wife. She delivers a pitch perfect portrayal of a woman having a nervous breakdown. Another performance of note is Ki-seon Lee in the role of the mysterious housekeeper who carries around creepy looking doll. For someone had not acted before and she appears to only have one other film credit. She delivers a remarkable performance. Ultimately Suddenly in the Dark is an extraordinary Horror film that has languished in obscurity for far too long.

The BluRay:

Suddenly in the Dark comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The look crisp, grain looks natural and there are no issues with DNR or compression. The transfer used for this release comes from a restoration that was conducted by the Korean Film Archive and the end results is a solid transfer that takes full advantage of this film vibrant colors.

This release comes with one audio option, a LPCM mono mix in Korean and included with this release are removable English subtitles. The audio is in superb shape, dialog is always clear rand everything sounds balanced. The more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented and range wise this film does not disappoint.

Extras for this release include, a Korean VHS Cover Art Gallery (4 minutes 33 seconds), Mondo Macabro’s Promo Reel (11 minutes 11 seconds) and two interviews – the first interview with producer David Suh (12 minutes 27 seconds, in Korean with English subtitles) and the second interview with film critic Kim Bong-seok (21 minutes 7 seconds, in Korean with English subtitles) who discusses the history of Korean Horror cinema.

Topics discussed in the interview with David Suh include, how his father worked in the industry, his origins as a producer, his production company Nam-a Pictures, his favorite films that he produced, director Young Nam Ko, Suddenly in the Dark, critical reaction to the film, the renewed overseas interest in the film and how this film overcame its censorship issues.

Overall Suddenly in the Dark gets an exceptional release from Mondo Macabro, highly recommended.

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