Someone Behind You (두 사람이다, Oh Ki-hwan: 2007)

High school student Ga-in witnesses the brutal murder of an Aunt while being repeatedly told by a strange school friend to ‘trust no-one, not even yourself’. Her strange dreams and paranoia aren’t exactly helped when the people nearest and dearest to her start trying to take her life…

A short, sharp slick horror flick that makes only a little sense, Someone Behind You almost stands out from a glut of average horror efforts by pure energy alone. Luckily there’s some skill to this as well, but it’s safe to say that Someone Behind You doesn’t want to waste too much time in making you think, or doesn’t want to spend more than a few minutes setting the tone and atmosphere. What Someone Behind You mainly wants to do is run at you with a knife, shouting ‘Die! Die!’.

Based on a comic book by Kang Kyung-ok, Someone Behind You is the first foray into horror by Oh Ki-hwan – a director noted mainly for romantic comedies such as The Art of Seduction. With an intense premise that places our central character Ga-in in the position of being threatened by anyone and everyone around her, Someone Behind You starts as it means to go on, opening with a brief teaser which is enough to make you pay attention and realise that this is going to be a pretty quickly paced film. Only a few minutes in and there’s blood on the screen, followed by a scene which literally has the blood pouring up the walls. Think Drag Me To Hell without the goofy sense of humour – not in its premise but in its energy – and although there are elements of films like The Grudge, the simple set-up that Someone Behind You gives itself is refreshingly used in a way that is more urgent, reminiscent of the straight-up slasher format: people are being killed by their nearest and dearest, and you’re next. Someone Behind You isn’t exactly relentless (it almost missteps in its central section as it flits with the idea of unnecessary exposition and then seems to think better of it), but it barely slows its pace for eighty-two minutes.

Although its totally a ‘surface’ horror flick with pace replacing depth, Someone Behind You certainly has a solid – and therefore sadly underused – cast. Yun Jin-seo is very good as Ga-in and manges to be both strong and vulnerable, while Park Ki-woong and Yi Ki-woo back her up as two male friends trying to protect her. Kim So-eun is decent enough as Ga-in’s sister but given the surface nature of the material its a shame that none of the cast are really given a whole lot to run with, other than adding their own physical energy to proceedings while helping to plow through some of the clumsy plotting.

Occasionally beautifully shot, sharply edited and strobly scored without cheap-shot empty scares in the form of LOUD MOMENTS, Someone Behind You is certainly a much stronger film than it has every right to be due to some very strong filmmaking production-wise. Sadly the script isn’t the solid backbone that it needs to be – and it pretty much collapses by after a few shaky twists and turns – but luckily the energy of the whole thing carries it through. The sheer filmmaking skill – script notwithstanding – gives the impression that if it was stronger material then this would really have been something very special.

Brutally bloody and violent when it needs to be, swiftly paced and a visually impressive, Someone Behind You has its flaws but is worth consideration by even the most casual horror viewer. It may not be a classic, but at least it knows when not to outstay it’s welcome and its a refreshing throwback to some of the more bloodier horror films rather than the slow, moodier flicks that have flooded the market over the last few years.

두 사람이다 (Someone Behind You)
Directed by Oh Ki-hwan
Produced by Kim Moo-ryong, Oh Ki-hwan
Written by Oh Ki-hwan
Starring Yun Jin-seo, Park Ki-woon, Yi Ki-woo, Kim So-eun, Lee Kan-hee, Jeong Yu-mi

Someone Behind You Image © M&FC Chungeorahm