• Gosa / Death Bell (2008) - Fast paced and entertaining high school slasher with the usual flaws - 6/10 (26/08/13)

    Gosa / Death Bell (2008)

     

    "Death Bell" is a South Korean high school horror movie released in 2008. It includes lots of slasher elements, a few minor mystery passages that can be seen as a nod to many popular Asian ghost movies but also several twisted enigmas that the surviving pupils and teachers have to resolve to save those who are kidnapped one by one by a vengeful mind. Imagine a mixture of the "Yeogo Goedam" series and "Saw".

    The problem I have with this movie is not that it doesn't introduce anything new to the genre. A solid high school slasher flick like "4th Period Mystery" can be quite entertaining without being innovative. This movie takes too much time to kick the story off. The first twenty minutes don't even introduce you adequately to the story. The real reasons behind what happens in this movie are shown later in a few rushed flashbacks. The opening minutes introduce you to many unimportant secondary characters.

    In fact, there are so many pupils running around that it's a little bit hard to realize who is who. After twenty lame minutes, pupils are suddenly kidnapped and murdered at such a high speed that you might soon feel confused about who is still alive, who has been kidnapped and who is about to be murdered.

    Then we have the enigmas. Each time a pupil is about to be tortured to death, a madman presents the surviving crowd an enigma they have to solve at time to save their kidnapped colleagues. Sometimes the survivors even solve the enigmas but that doesn't keep the killer from continuing his slaughter which is pretty lame as the challenges feel somewhat useless. No matter if you solve the enigmas or not, the killer continues to spread death and terror until the very end of the movie.

    The enigmas are also rather hard to follow. The first enigma has something to do with mathematics but the solution is never shown to the viewers. For the second enigma, the survivors have to create a sentence which is very hard to understand. I neither understand the sense behind the sentence nor the way the survivors manage to compose it in the end. The other enigmas are a little bit easier to understand but not very interesting as well. The movie should have spent some more time on explaining the enigmas and their more or less associated traps as it is the case in movies like "Mindhunters". 

    The ending of the movie is rather intriguing and includes a minor twist. Some people felt disappointed by it, others thought it was great and to me it was just okay. At least, it ended this short movie on a rather high note. 

     

    Fans of high school horror movies or slasher films can try this movie out. It's nothing groundbreaking but surely entertaining enough if you don't want to watch your "Scream" movies over and over again. It's decently entertaining but only an average horror movie, especially if we compare this to other unique and stunning South Korean horror movies like "A Tale Of Two Sisters", "Bedevilled" or "I Saw The Devil" for example. But for what it is, it's an acceptable fast food horror flicks with a few Korean pop stars acting in here. 

     

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