Acacia (2003) Movie Review
Written By: JEH
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Park Ki-hyeong
Producers: Kang Sung-kyu, Park Ki-hyung, Yu Yeong-shik
Writers: Seong Gi-young, Park Ki-hyung
Date Released: October 17, 2003
Shim Hye-jin as Choi Mi-sook
Kim Jin-Geun as Kim Do-il
Moon Woo-Bin as Kim Jin-seong
Jung Na-Yoon as Min-ji
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Dr. Kim Do-il (Kim Jin-Geun) and his wife, Choi Mi-sook (Shim Hye-jin), desire to have their own child but they’re always unsuccessful. The couple decides to adopt a child, Jin-seong because of his apparent love and talent for art. The new family gets along well until Mi-sook becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby boy. Jin-seong begins to feel alienated, taking comfort in an acacia tree in the family’s garden. But after he overhears that his new family plans to send him back to the orphanage, Jin-seong runs away. Strange events begin to happen after the boy’s disappearance, including the sudden blooming of the dead acacia tree.
The first half of Acacia (2003) builds the story up as creepy and paranormal. But when the second act happens, multiple scenes make the audience wince and look away. These scenes include accidentally eating a needle, vomiting blood, insects entering the body, and stabbing. Overall, there is a vast array of gory and disturbing imagery.
Also, trigger warning: there is a scene depicting marital rape.
The Grave Review
Acacia (2003) is more than just a horror movie. Director Ki-Hyung Park considers this movie as his personal statement on adoption in Korea. Aside from his beliefs about the issue, the movie also aims to teach the audience that adoption is more than just the desire to have children. But why did Park choose horror as the genre to relay such an important message?
Park wanted Acacia (2003) to leave a mark and make the audience reflect on the process and effect of adoption, especially on the psychological side of the film. While this was a creative way to send a message, did Acacia (2003) do the horror genre justice?
Acacia (2003) is not for those who prefer fast-paced movies. The film is slow-moving, focusing on mundane scenes that expound the relationships of the characters. More than half of the movie is uneventful and it might drive away viewers who are not used to this kind of storytelling. The acting is also a little off-putting, as well as the dialogue.
When the movie reaches the major turning point of the story, everything becomes tremendously better. When the adopted son disappears, viewers will notice more unnaturalness among characters. But this time, it feels on course. As the film goes on, the unnaturalness becomes unsettling, accompanied by unexplainable horrors that surround the family. The characters break down due to their unseen personal demons, and you will feel the weight of their guilt with them. The shocking and unique visuals also add impact to the intense scenes in the second half of the film.
Despite all the things the film does right and the message it wants to send, the film’s efforts are not enough to make it one of the best. Slow storytelling is fine, as long as it matters to the conclusion. Also, if it is needed to build tension and atmosphere. But Acacia (2003) has a lot of uneventful fillers that ruins the experience halfway through the movie.
Should you see this movie? If you are a fan of Asian horror, you might enjoy Acacia (2003). If you’re looking for a psychological horror movie with an ending that strikes up a conversation, put this on your list. But if you don’t have the patience, this movie might disappoint you.
For the above reasons, Grave Reviews gives Acacia (2003) two graves out of five graves.
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