This deeply weird ghostly tale's is rooted literally in the South Korean tradition of graveside retribution. After ten years of childless marriage, Do-Il (Jin-geun Kim) and Mi-Sook (Hye-jin Shim) decide to adopt; Mi-Sook can't resist the impulse to save a traumatized six-year-old named Jin-Sung (Woo-bin Moon), who's obsessed with trees and draws mesmerizing landscapes. The shy youngster eventually responds to the affection of his adoptive parents, makes friends with the little girl next door and forms a deep bond with his
grandfather, an expert on arboreal folklore. Jin-Sung believes that his late mother's spirit resides in the acacia tree growing in the backyard of his new home, and when Mi-Sook becomes unexpectedly pregnant, Jin-Sung is less than pleased. Mi-Sook's judgmental mother, who never liked Jin-Sung anyway, is delighted, but the boy expresses contempt for his sibling-to-be and begins distancing himself from his parents. Then the mysterious stuff starts, all centered around the acacia: Granny sniffs a blossom and begins coughing up blood; she needs to be hospitalized. Ants crawl from the tree roots and attack grandpa, while Do-Il and Mi-Sook begin quarreling when they stray into the tree's imperious shadow. The maternal Acacia seems to have a vested interest in Jin-Sung, but while it stands like a sentry it can't ensure the child's safety: The child vanishes, and his "disappearance" becomes the final nail in the coffin of Mi-Sook and Do-Il's happy home life. Given that botanical chillers are an extremely small subset of the horror genre, director/co-writer Ki-hyung Park's film can be forgiven certain shortcoming, notably a screenplay that would have benefited from some pruning. Park favors eeriness over logic in this fable about secret secrets that can't be buried forever, and works up an ominous atmosphere considerable spooky skill.
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- Released: 2003
- Rating: R
- Review: This deeply weird ghostly tale's is rooted literally in the South Korean tradition of graveside retribution. After ten years of childless marriage, Do-Il (Jin-geun Kim) and Mi-Sook (Hye-jin Shim) decide to adopt; Mi-Sook can't resist the impu… (more)