Horrortoberfest ’20 Day 20 – Warning: Do Not Play (2019)

 

For the last of the Tech Week horror movies, we jump back to Korea for a scary movie about trying to find a scary movie when you’re making a scary movie. It’s all very meta and recursive. I always love a movie that’s about a movie so scary that it can kill you/make you crazy because it always ends up like the Tenacious D song Tribute. This is not the scariest film in the world. NO! This is just a tribute.

CW: Suicide

Mi-jeong is an up and coming horror director that has won some acclaim and now has the pressure on to deliver something great for the studio. Desperate for ideas and running out of time, she hears a legend about a student film that was so scary it made everyone run out of the theater and gave someone a heart attack. The story says that is was filmed by a ghost. Her need to track it down leads her to confront the history of film and the original director that never wants it to see the light of day again.

The layers of meta in this film go deep. The film is about filming the making of the film of the making of a film of the making of a film. The actual ghost film itself is a film about the making of a film when a ghost attacks. There is a lot of content in there about the pouring of one’s own trauma into the art that you make. Mi-jeong slit her wrists as a young girl. The director of the cursed movie used to be bullied and suicidal. The desire to make something out of your past that might help someone also going what you went through is a wonderful undertone to an otherwise standard horror film.

There is a good balance of jump scare to tension scare. The movie doesn’t always have to have a ghost jumping out at you and a lot of the film is more about the need to succeed driving you past a point of sanity. Of course the main problem with the movie is the problem that you’re going to have in any of these types of movies. When you hype up something as a film so scary it can something something whatever and then show clips of it and it’s just some real standard horror stuff; you just kind of feel let down. It’s like having a movie that never shows the monster and has everyone endlessly talking about how terrifying it is and then you see it and it’s just a guy in a rubber suit where you can see the zipper and everything.

I feel like these types of movies are always more enjoyable if you’re a horror nerd to begin with and like deconstructing things. Thankfully, there is enough going on with the whole mystery of the tape and the murder ghost that even someone just wanting a spooky time can enjoy it without a problem.

Rating: 4 out of 5

One response to “Horrortoberfest ’20 Day 20 – Warning: Do Not Play (2019)

  1. How does a ghost film a movie? Do they operate a camera using telekinesis? Or do they just magic the events onto the film directly?

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