Say Yes / Cleaning Toilets

Say Yes  -  Front DVD Cover (UK)Celebrating their first wedding anniversary, Yoon-hee (Chu Sang-mi “Soul Guardians”) and Jung-hyun (Kim Joo-hyuk “Blue Swallow”) embark on a road trip into the countryside.  During the trip they meet a stranger, M, (Park Joong-hoon “Nowhere to Hide”) and offer him a ride.  However things quickly turn sinister when M starts showing up at all the destinations the couple arrive at. Tensions escalate as this film becomes a taut psychological thriller that takes some unexpected turns.

2001  –  Certificate: 18  –  South Korea
Rating Details: Strong, bloody violence
7 out of 10

I’m pissed off today.  I feel like a toilet cleaner.  I feel like a toilet cleaner who’s getting blamed for the state of the toilets he’s cleaning.  I feel like a toilet cleaner who’s getting blamed for the state of the toilets he’s cleaning, but hasn’t been given the equipment he needs to clean them.  I feel like a toilet cleaner who’s getting blamed for the state of the toilets he’s cleaning, who hasn’t been given the equipment he needs to clean them and is then getting blamed for that too.  I feel like a toilet cleaner who’s getting blamed for the state of the toilets he’s cleaning, who hasn’t been given the equipment he needs to clean them and is getting blamed for that, whilst also being blamed for not cleaning them quickly enough either.  Cleaning toilets is literally a shit job.  On the upside, the couple in this film end up having an even more crap time than me.

This is a pretty obscure South Korean thriller/horror that’s actually not too bad.  Happy young couple go away for a few days to celebrate the husband’s success at getting a publishing deal for a book he’s written, nearly run a guy down in a service station car park, give him a lift somewhere because they feel bad about what they’ve done, then suffer the consequences as they realise they’ve picked up a psycho.  By and large, their reactions to things weren’t too outlandish most of the time, so the movie feels quite believable.  It’s films like this that I blame the lack of cohesion in many of our communities; no one trusts anyone these days.  How much nicer would it have been if the guy they picked up had turned out to be an all-around decent chap and they’d all become life-long friends?  Nice yes, but probably boring.  No, on second thoughts I think I prefer the fact that he spent the next few days terrorising them, trying to get the husband to tell him to kill his wife (the “say yes” of the title) and generally making their lives hell.  The couple was decent enough, quite easy to sympathise with.  The husband, Jung-hyun, started off as a bit of an ‘average-man’ trying to be the alpha-male and to his credit he did give the psycho a bit of a beating in the street at one point (and the latter wasn’t a small guy by any means), but he quickly realised he was out of his depth and didn’t continue to try to be a macho-style hero.  I’ve got to give him his credit though, he had to put up with a lot of shit (there’s a lot of it about at the moment) and he’d certainly earned the respect I accorded him by the time the film was over.  I thought the Korean police were pretty rubbish; the couple didn’t seem to think much of them either.  The psycho is suitably deranged, creepy looking and sounding; I couldn’t help thinking he’d probably had a toilet cleaning experience not unlike mine that had pushed him over the edge.  For all I know he had, as we learn very little about his life, but I guess he must have done something else with it as I can’t imagine he’d been regularly hassling holidaying couples over a long period of time.   The movie did drift into “Duel” and “The Terminator” territory once or twice, but if you’re going to borrow from elsewhere you may as well do so from the best.  It also felt like they’d finished making it and then thought, whoops, it’s not long enough and there’s not enough gratuitous violence in it either, so let’s add another 20 minutes and a load of blood and guts too. So watch out for the false ending and don’t get up to make a cup of tea until you see the credits.

Recommended for people who walk to the supermarket.  If you drive then don’t complain when you run into a psycho-shopper-hitchhiker from hell.  Statistically you’re probably more likely to get killed during the drive anyway.  In fact to be on the safe side, I recommend you use your local corner shop instead.  (I wrote this paragraph before I realised that they actually visit what looks more like a service station than a supermarket when they meet the nutter, but I was so pleased with it that I decided not to change it; it doesn’t take much to keep me happy…)

No cats or chainsaws and 1 decapitation.  That timeless classic,  ‘head in a bag’, used here for maximum impact.

Top badass moment?  Not once but twice, Jung-hyun has to deal with some pretty painful stuff being done to him by the psycho, but refuses to give in to protect his wife.  For an action-hero or superhero that would be tough enough, but this guy’s a writer, so you’ve got to big-up the respect for him.  You don’t need a huge gun to be a hero.

Say Yes at IMDB (5.5/10)

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