The Vanished is a thriller from South Korea that hits all the right marks. The twists and turns will keep you entertained – and keep you guessing! Screening at Fantasia 2018 in Canada now.
The Vanished is actually a remake of the Spanish thriller El cuerpo (The Body). And actually, the Korean, Spanish and English titles for this story are all very appropriate, since the story is all about a body that vanishes.
Even though I absolutely love Spanish movies (as much as Korean movies, actually), I haven’t seen the original. Obviously, this means I’ll only give my opinion on The Vanished and not compare it to the original story.
Not that this matters to you anyway, since you’re here to read a review about the South Korean thriller. And let me tell you right away; You do not want to miss The Vanished, if you love a good thriller.
Ff you’re also a fan of revenge stories and tend to enjoy movies from South Korea? Well, then this should tick every box for you.
Less of a slow burner
Usually, movies from South Korea tend to be slow-burners. This also results in runtimes than can easily be anywhere between 2½ and 3 hours.
In that sense, The Vanished is pretty atypical of Korean films. It clocks in at 101 minutes, so it’s not even two hours. Still, you don’t have to worry that it will leave you wanting more. The Vanished offers a very complete story.
Sure, it will keep you guessing as it pulls you around with clues and twists. If you’re a big fan of the crime and thriller genre, then you might guess some twists up front.
For me, the story has a very organic way of evolving, so as a viewer, you can just sit back and enjoy the show.
Not just a whodunit
When somebody dies and their body then vanishes before an autopsy can be performed, you quickly start to suspect wrong-doings. That’s why The Vanished quickly becomes a whodunit.
However, it is so much more than just that.
In reality, it’s more of a “who’s done what” and “to whom” and “when”. There are many layers to this story and all will be revealed in due time. There’s nothing supernatural or crazy about the story, so it’s all very much about human nature.
Director Chang-hee Lee has created quite the little thriller here. A small story that blows your mind. And it’s his debut!
Embrace South Korean film
We’ve said it so many times with The Wailing and Train to Busan, but it bears repeating: Please don’t give up on movies from South Korea simply because of the language barrier.
Korean film has an insanely high production value, and both the stories and actors tend to be of extremely high quality. At least the ones that manage to cross over and become international contenders at film festivals. The Vanished is screening at the iconic Fantasia here in 2018, which should be enough of a “stamp of approval” for anyone to give it a shot.
Especially since Train to Busan, it does seem like people have embraced Korean movies more. If you want some inspiration as to which South Korean horror and thriller movies to watch, check out our list here.
The Vanished is still playing at film festivals all over the world.
Director/Writer: Lee Chang-hee
Cast: Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Kang-woo, Kim Hee-ae, Han Ji-an, Lee Ji-hoon
The body of Yoon Seol Hee disappears at the National Institute of Scientific Investigation. Detective Woo Joong Shik seeks clues on her disappearance, while her husband Park Jin Han claims she is alive.
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