Fantasia 17: “House of the Disappeared” (2017) ★★★★★

When you watch Junjin Kim in Lost or Mistresses you can tell she is an amazing actress. But the truth is, she is much better and even brilliant talent when she appears in non-English movies. And imagine how far she can go if she would have been given a role in Hollywood that is widely recognised the same as her American colleagues?  House of the Disappeared directed by Lim Dae-Woong is one of those beautifully crafted mysterious thrillers that in the end will reward you with tons of emotional moments and twisted ending that I am sure will convert you into a fan of a new genre of cinema if you were not already in to it…

A woman, Kang Mi-Hee (Junjin Kim), was arrested for murdering her entire family, her cop husband and son, Hyo-je. Despite the body of her husband being recovered by the police, her son’s remains disappeared without trace. After spending twenty five years in prison, the woman returns to the same house to once again relive the same exact day that ruined her and the life of her loved ones.

The movie begins with Kang who we find just got out of the floor where, presumably, she was unconscious. The noise she hears leads her to the basement where she’s already armed with a sharp knife making her way towards it. As soon as she reaches downstairs, she finds her husband with life-threatening injuries who passes away seconds after. But once she looks back, she finds her son, Hyo-je in a stunned position. The scene cuts to black where the same Kang appears very old and being released from prison.

Being diagnosed with larynx cancer, Mang can barely talk but her memories of that tragic day are still painfully vivid. Still nobody believing her story, that changes with the appearance of Father Choi, who is the only one in the entire world who believes that something else had happened that clearly could explain the disappearance of Hyo-je and the infamous murder. And he was right, when it was revealed that in the same house twenty five years before, a family of three disappeared the same way as of its two predecessors that now still reside in the same house as if they were still there alive and well.

As Father Choi digs deep with his investigation, Mang takes the viewer back in time to allow the viewer to learn how did it happen that Mang had to go to the basement with the knife and why she had to fight for her life, but the main question is, from who she needed to be protected and why?

House of the Disappeared is a suspenseful thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The story written is clever and well narrated. It develops the character in such a way as if you were eating the most delicious pie that you want to have piece after piece. Junjin Kim’s complete transformation and stellar performance is so effective that you might, just like her character, get lost in time. Overall, Lim Dae-Woong’s movie is a great treat from Asia, I would assure you it’s something you would not like to miss. But if you allow me to go beyond that, I would say it’s one of the most powerful and captivating thrillers I`ve seen to date… and even you… that’s made not in Hollywood.

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