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Office (2015)

The investigation following a sales manager brutally killing his entire family leads to a track of mystery and tragedy in an overwhelmed work team at Seoul.


Director Won-Chan Hong (feature debut) has produced a stunning and inventive horror / thriller here, with Office. Playing heavily in the horror background of Korean folklore, the story, written by Choi Yun-jin (feature debut) trips around an office building in which, perhaps, a fired worker who has had a psychotic break is hiding, having killed his family and is killing further.

Playing as a murder mystery for the large part - but plentiful on the horror elements to be sure - and running in at only just shy of two hours, the film has plenty of time to find and explore the ideas in the film, like a lot of South Korean cinema. There is plenty of background, subplots, and character building. It is a slow burn, sure, but one that benefits heavily for it, due to it's non-horror elements. But Hong has ensured that the atmosphere is ramped up to nine throughout. It's utterly involving, and so, so gripping.

But it is still a horror film, and terrifying too, in places. The story ramps at the climax wonderfully, and there's a cracking sting in the tale in the end.

The performances are very good. In play we have protagonist Lee Mi-Rye played by Ko Asung (Snowpiercer) taking the bulk of the heavy lifting, and good she is too, taking the leap into wide-eyed innocence and creepy all at once. A pretty stunning performance. Taking the antagonist role is Seong-woo Bae (Obsessed) who is damn right chilling.

A dark and disturbing look at a murder investigation, with nice horror elements, good direction, and a good cast - if you like the output from South Korea, this is worth a watch. If you're begging for horror, perhaps try Train to Busan first, but for the slow burn with a cracking sting, this is must see stuff.

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