It seems pretty rare, but once in a while, a movie comes along that you fall in love with immediately. It may be the acting or the special effects, or it may be something much different entirely. Perhaps it’s something you can’t even put your finger on. The latest film to give me this warm and fuzzy feeling is Koji Shiraishi’s A Record of Sweet Murder.
Journalist, Soyeon, is contacted by a childhood friend after his escape from a mental facility. This friend, Sangjoon, has murdered 18 people and wants the world to know exactly why he did it, to prove he is not as crazy as they all believe.
As I get older, my taste in cinema has changed. A few years back, there were certain types of horror films I mostly steered clear of. Mainly, ones that would fall under the “extreme” horror banner. Recently, however, I’ve expanded my horizons, so to speak, and it has opened up a whole new world of amazing genre films.
On a roll with their last few releases, Unearthed Films has done it again. A Record of Sweet Murder is an amazing movie, one that I’m afraid will be ignored by people who were like me. People expecting this to be another extreme horror film are doing themselves a huge disservice. Yes, things get pretty intense here, but there is a lot of beauty to be found in this film about murder.
A Record of Sweet Murder is shot entirely using one take. I’m not sure if cast and crew were truly able to pull off this feat or if some sort of editing magic was performed to create this illusion. Regardless, it is amazing to watch.
Recording using the good old handheld cam technique, this isn’t your typical “found footage” flick. A Record of Sweet Murder does feature some shaky camera work to portray someone running or moving quickly, for instance. Yet, it still is able to frame things perfectly, making sure its audience never misses any key element to the story.
With a small cast of only a handful of actors in total, writer and director, Koji Shiraishi, managed to introduce five very distinct personalities. Each character stood out from the rest, with my favorite ironically being the thought-to-be mentally ill mass murderer, Sangjoon.
Sangjoon is brilliantly played by Korean actor Je-wook Yeon. His character, although believed to be a crazed killer, has made it his mission to prove to everyone around him that he is, in fact, not crazy. He has committed this string of murders for a very specific reason. One that would truly be a miracle if all came fruition accordingly.
Knowing that this man has indeed committed these murders amps up the tension of A Record of Sweet Murder from the very beginning. As soon as we are introduced face to face with Sangjoon, we see a fidgety, knife-wielding, broken down man. Because of his constant swaying back and forth, his nervous motions, and his unpredictable temperament, it is very difficult to not feel uneasy for our protagonists, Soyeon and her cameraman, Tashiro.
A Record of Sweet Murder has everything you could want in a horror movie. It is masterfully written, wonderfully acted, and is impressively shot and filmed.
When it is time to get bloody, A Record of Sweet Murder certainly knows how to do that, too. Even with a small cast, the violence and bloodshed is plentiful. Shiraishi, director of such films as A Slit-Mouthed Woman and Grotesque made sure of that.
On top of all of this, he was able to convey a level of innocence and sweetness in his most troubled character, something that I am sure not very many filmmakers are capable of.
I cannot urge you enough. Please purchase yourself a copy of A Record of Sweet Murder. You will not be disappointed.
The film is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from Unearthed Films.
I give this one a final repulsive rating of 5 signs from God out of 5.