Whilst Asian film-makers have revitalised genre cinema over the past few decades, the plaudits are usually bestowed upon Japan. The economic boom in Korea led to the resurgence of its national cinema industry around the turn of the century. This sparked a thriving market for horror films, the most notable being Whispering Corridors (and its sequels), The Host, A Tale of Two Sisters and R Point. In his new film, The Mimic, Huh Jung takes a traditional legend and spins it into a very modern tale of terror.
It has been five years since their son went missing, but Hee-yeon (Yum Jung-ah) is still struggling to come to terms with the loss. Due to his mother’s ill-health, her husband (Park Hyuk-kwon) decides to move the family, including their young daughter (Bang Yu-seol), to the countryside. Whilst out walking in the forest, Hee-yeon discovers a little lost girl (Shin Rin-ah) and decides to ‘adopt’ her. However, when a number of strange things start happening in their house, they begin to suspect that something might be awry.
Inspired by the legend of the Jangsan Tiger, a mythical man-eating creature which roams around a mountain in Busan, The Mimic is South Korea’s most successful domestic horror for four years. It’s not hard to see why. Huh Jung mixes myth with grief to produce a slick, stylish and superior slice of Asian horror. Yum Jung-ah impresses in the lead role, whilst events feel all too worryingly plausible. The Mimic is a welcome return to form for Korean genre cinema and will hopefully spark another resurgence.
The Mimic is released on DVD by Arrow Films on 19 February.