In Competition for the White Mulberry Award for First Time Director
In Competition for the Mulberry Award for Best Screenplay
The Other Child
South Korea, 2022, 114’, Korean
Directed by: Kim Jin-young
Screenplay: Kim Jin-young
Photography (color): Yang Kyun-sang
Editing: Lee Yeon-jeong
Production Design: Kwak Hae-eun
Producers: Ahn Byung-rae, Heo Yun-yeong
Cast: Park Hyo-ju (Hyun-woo), Kim Min-jae (Seok-ho), Gyeong Da-eun (Ju-eun), Park Jae-jun (Isak), Cha Seon-woo (Young-jun)
Date of First Release in Territory: October 19th, 2022
The pastor Seok-ho and his wife Hyun-woo lead a life that may seem normal on the outside, but they remain tormented by the death of their third child. Ultimately they decide to adopt a visually impaired young boy, partly as a way to move on. The boy, named Isaac, begins settling into his new home, but his new sisters seem reluctant to accept him. Then Isaac begins to sense the presence of another boy among them. Unnerved, he tells the rest of the family, but they do not respond well to this unexpected announcement.
The Other Child is a horror movie, and an effective one at that. With its fine-tuned control of sound and editing, it is able to send chills down your back without resorting to jump scares. Sometimes it is the presence of this boy-spirit that sets you on edge, but the growing tension between the human characters provides its own creeping sense of unease as well. At the same time, The Other Child is a searing drama about the psychology of grief and loss. If at first we naturally question the idea of a family adopting a new child as a way of dealing with grief, the film will take us much deeper into the complicated, intense, and sometimes alarming storm of emotions experienced by the bereaved family.
What’s particularly exciting about The Other Child is that it skillfully manages to be both kinds of films at once. The horror and the drama each feed into and complement each other. This is the first feature by director Kim Jin-young, but she directs it with such sure hands, it feels like the work of a practiced genre specialist. The look of the film is also quite impressive, from the lakeside rural setting to the chilly interior scenes. As for the cast, Kim Min-jae is one of the most sought-after supporting actors in the industry today, and he brings that experience to the role of Seok-ho, who feels an added layer of internal struggle because of his religious beliefs. Hyun-woo is played by Park Hyo-ju, and her heartbreaking, never-predictable performance is one of the film’s highlights.
The “golden age” of South Korean horror may now be a bygone era, but The Other Child is a reminder that the industry is still very capable of turning out finely-crafted, originally-conceived horror films that are worth seeking out.
Kim Jin-young graduated from the Korea National University of Arts in 2010, majoring in film direction. Her short film Believe in Me screened in many major film festivals in South Korea, winning the Grand Prize in the Asian Short Film and Video Competition at the 12th Seoul International Women’s Film Festival. After serving as an production assistant on horror film The Cat (2011) and romance My Sister, the Pig Lady (2015), she made her feature debut with The Other Child in 2022.
FILMOGRAFIA / FILMOGRAPHY
2022 – The Other Child