Fantastic Fest Reviews: Zombie Girl and The Chaser

Zombie Girl: The Movie is a fun documentary about Emily Hagins, a 12-year-old girl from Austin Texas who spent two years directing a feature-length zombie movie titled Pathogen. Encouraged by her mother Megan, who produced, created the special effects and held the boom mike, Emily filmed the movie on weekends and school holidays. Emily is what you would expect from a director of her age: highly unorganized, unfocused and unable to communicate clearly. At one point she gives an actress the direction to “act sorta like yourself, except you’re being chased by zombies.” The film captures the magic and struggle of micro-budget indie filmmaking. But at it’s core, it is a movie about a mother and a daughter who were brought together through the love of film and (insert over dramatic effect) almost torn apart due to the making of a film. 6.5/10

The Chaser: Many of the films I’ve seen at Fantastic Fest could, and probably will, be remade for English-speaking audiences. The Chaser is a South Korean film which is already being adapted by William Monahan (The Departed) with Leonardo DiCaprio rumored to star. The film tells the story of a dirty detective turned pimp who has had several of his girls disappear. He sends one of his girls to meet with the same client whom all of the missing girls last visited. At first he believes that the client is stealing his women, but it turns out they have been at the fatal end of this impotent killer. When his girl doesn’t text him the address, as planned, Joong-ho has to go on a hunt to find the killer and rescue the girl with the woman’s seven-year-old daughter. The Chaser is thrilling, and takes several unexpected turns that will have you mouth firmly stuck in the open position. Joong-Ho develops a relationship with the little girl, which just further cranks up the stakes for the recovery of her mother. I hate to use the cliche that you’ll be on the edge of your seat, but The Chaser is that type of film. 8/10

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Fresh off the news that he’ll produce and probably star in two big budget Akira flicks and the rumor that he’ll star in Cocaine Cowboys, Leonardo DiCaprio is now circling a remake of the 2008 South Korean serial killer thriller The Chaser. What’s more, according to Variety, screenwriter William Monahan, the guy responsible for a lot of the sparks in Leo’s The Departed, has been pegged by Warner Bros. to write the script. While nothing’s signed as of yet, Monahan’s also producing the film.

This would be the third team-up between Monahan and DiCaprio, with their Body of Lies, directed by Ridley Scott, due this October. And, of course, The Departed was itself a remake of the Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs. DiCaprio would reportedly play a down-and-out ex-cop who sets out to find a girl being used like a pawn by a serial killer against the police.

Released last month in Asia, The Chaser has banked more than $20 million. The plot is a bit seedy, as the ex-cop that DiCaprio is set to play is actually a pimp who runs a massage parlor as a cover. When his girls start disappearing, he makes a connection to the killer, finds him and the police become involved and yet they obsess over the body count. The cop sets out to find the last missing girl, who the serial killer hints is still alive, before the cops have to release him. There is reportedly lots of social commentary packed into the low budget film as well, especially regarding police focus.

Click here for the trailer. No U.S. release date has been for the original film at this time.

Discuss: Do you find the premise of The Chaser intriguing for the talent involved?

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