A scene from A WEREWOLF BOY, directed by Jo Sung-hee for CJ Entertainment.

A Werewolf Boy (2012, Jo Sung-hee)

Besides an utterly absurd title–and one nowhere near as clever as the film itself–A Werewolf Boy is something of a success. Jo proves one can successfully marry science fiction, werewolf romance, class bigotry and… I don’t know, ageless romantic melodrama. He doesn’t cop out at the end either, but turns the picture into some kind of a fairy tale. It doesn’t succeed on those terms, but there was no good finish for do a wild child romantic picture with so much sci-fi.

In terms of composition, Jo does pretty well throughout. He apparently told cinematographer Choi Sang-mok to make everything as pretty as possible–the light’s soft yet vibrant. The film’s utterly artificial yet completely engrossing.

The film’s mostly in flashback to the mid-sixties, when a family newly moved to the country discovers the titular character living on their property. The boy, played by Soon Joong-ki in appealing but rather easy performance, immediately takes to the older daughter, played by Park Bo-yeong. She’s really good in her role, which gets more and more difficult as the film progresses.

Much of the picture works just because Park’s family is so appealing. Jang Young-nam is great as the mom, Kim Hyang-gi is the adorable younger sister. It’s all very nice. Except, of course, odious villain Yoo Yeon-seok. Jo goes overboard with him.

A Werewolf Boy is a competent, sincere motion picture. It can’t work because of bigger things than Jo can control.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Written and directed by Jo Sung-hee; director of photography, Choi Sang-mok; edited by Nam Na-young; music by Shim Hyun-jung; production designer, Kim Ji-su; produced by Kim Sujin and Yoon In-beom; released by CJ Entertainment.

Starring Song Joong-ki (Chul-soo), Park Bo-yoeng (Suni), Jang Young-nam (Suni’s mother), Yoo Yeon-seok (Ji-tae), Kim Hyang-gi (Sun-ja), Yoo Sung-mok (Professor Kang Tae-shik), Seo Dong-soo (The Colonel), Woo Jeong-guk (Mr. Jung), Gu Bon-im (Mrs. Jung), Nam Jung-hee (Dong-seok’s grandmother), Ahn Do-gyu (Dong-seok), Shin Bi (Dong-mi) and Lee Young-lan (Old Suni).

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