To Catch a Virgin Ghost

Director: Shin Jung-won

2004. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 102 min.

Petty thief Seok-tae betrays middle-ranking thug Yang-yi and runs off with a pocketful of smuggled diamonds. Seok-tae gets stranded in a strange village named Sisili, whose small community is led by the lizard-like Byun Hee-bong. When the thief accidentally strangles himself in a bathroom, the locals, who are not quite as innocent and warm-hearted as they initially appeared, discover a few nuggets on his body and are driven insane with greed. However, they barely have time to bury the poor thief before Yang-yi and his gangster cronies descend on Sisily in search of the precious stones. This zany first feature from director Shin Jung-won is more comedy than horror film. It’s at its funniest when portraying the eccentric residents of Sisili, who are a crassly middle-class, consumerist Korean version of the family in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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