Sunday, December 27, 2009

THE CHASER -- after festivals, On-Demand and even DVD release -- opens theatrically!

This should be an interesting test case: a Korean police procedural/serial killer film from 2008 that won a raft of awards in its home country, stirred up a fuss on the festival circuit, made its NY debut almost a year ago in the 2009 Film Comment Selects series, was then picked up by IFC and shown On-Demand for months, followed by a DVD release (as a Blockbuster Exclusive). And now? A theatrical bow.

THE CHASER (Chugyeogja) is an unusually riveting, dark and creepy thriller directed by first-timer Hong-jin Na (shown just above) and written by Won-Chan Hong & Shinho Lee. It certainly deserves its theatrical release. But backward? When I inquired of IFC how this all came about, I was told the following: "The film has some fans, both in the press and in the industry, and people were pushing for a limited big-screen release. We had a little space so decided to give it a shot. We'll see what happens." Indeed. And once that release is completed, I'll try to remember to post the results. Yes, I realize that most people will be more interested in whether Avatar beats out Sherlock Holmes at the box-office (just heard from Variety: it did); for me, given its recent distribution history, how this Korean creep-fest fares theatrically seems far more interesting.

My original review of The Chaser, when it was available On-Demand, appears here. If you haven't seen it by now, I recommend you do. It opens Wednesday, December 30, at the IFC Center in New York.

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