Konnichiwa! Dia Duit! Wazzup! Straight Outta Kanto here braving the torrential rain and grim humidity of Summer in Ireland to bring you a review of biblical proportions. Originally a casualty of pandemic related delays, Kim Tae-Hyung’s Horror-Mystery The Eight Night has finally been unleashed on Netflix like an archaic curse prophesied in aeons past.
If you’re a fan of the Korean horror genre, the Korean mystery/thriller genre or even partial to big Hollywood epics such as The Mummy or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, this is the film for you!
Move over Joseph and his Coat of Many Colours, this is the movie of many genres!
The Eight Night opens with an epic scene-setting Sanskrit narration and ye olde style Eastern artwork and animation. Many millennia ago, a naughty monster tried to open the gates of evil and unleash Hell on Earth, running afoul of Buddha in the process.
After a slightly convoluted, but nonetheless cool, series of events involving human possession, or “stepping stones”, over a series of eight nights, the monster is subdued by Buddha. For now.
To prevent this disastrous event from ever recurring, a black eye and red eye belonging to said demon are hidden and guarded on opposite ends of the Earth, lest they ever meet again and endless night reign for humanity.
Fast forward to present day Korea, and guess what? There are dark forces at work determined to make the black eye and the red eye meet again, thus triggering a frantic race-against-time to prevent the apocalypse. Oh woe! How on Earth can we prevent such a catastrophe? Only a motley crew of comically mismatched and oddly caricatured characters could save the day!
Oh, if only we had a hard-bitten detective determined to get to the bottom of a series of bizarre local murders! If only that hard-bitten detective could run into an ex-monk with a troubled past and even more troubled brow! My kingdom for an adorable novice monk with a hilariously utilised vow of silence and love of snazzy new trainers!
Oh. Wait. Actors Lee Sung-Min, Park Hae-Joon and Park Se-Hyun have you covered.
While The Eight Night does have a hard time deciding what genre it resides in, and seems determined to win some kind of award for most plot content in one film – this is still 1hr55 that won’t bore you for a single second.
With stylish action cinematography, an atmospheric sweeping sound-scape, high quality CGI and genuinely eerie make-up FX, this is a movie that makes a HUGE effort. Yes, that effort can sometimes result in the viewer losing some of the finer points of the story, but for the audience it’s ultimately great value for money.
While the over-arching impending Doomsday is the main point of focus for The Eight Night, it’s the warmth and depth of the human relationships between the characters that won me over. Particularly the growing friendship between the afore-mentioned Troubled Ex-Monk and the Happy Go Lucky novice monk he begrudgingly allows to tag along to help save the world.
Gee, I sure hope there’s no heartbreaking dramatic plot twist to tear them apart…
Despite Netflix appearing to be advertising The Eight Night as a K-Horror, (and it does feature the odd K-Horror trope and mild scare) I would class this as a big blockbuster style action-adventure.
I’m not saying it could hold a candle to any of those classic action epics that do the rounds on the T.V. over Christmas, but I do think by trying to push the horror aspect over everything else will niche this film out of a wider audience.
So, listen to Straight Outta Kanto, fire up the barbecue and pop the corn, The Eight Night is ideal viewing for long summer nights.
Just leave those eyes alone… you’ll go blind!
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Straight Outta Kanto is the nerdy nom de plume of international horror-shock musician, illustrator and radio personality Venus de Vilo.
Straight Outta Kanto is a podcast and review blog dedicated to bringing it’s audience the warped and weirdest in nerd culture, nightmare fuel and 90s/00s nostalgia.
Champion of the Shurikon 2018 Pokémon League competition, certified VGC Dragon Gym Leader and CEO of Pokémon Fan Club Ireland, Straight Outta Kanto is an unapologetic otaku and psychotic J-Horror fanatic.