Screamfest 2011 Movie Review: SECTOR 7 (in 3D)

Director – Kim Ji-Hoon
Cast – Ji-won Ha, Sung-kee Anh, Ji-ho Oh

It’s a historical moment for South Korea.  SECTOR 7 (in 3D) marks the first ever film to come out of the country made in 3D  and the first film from Asia designated for IMAX.  You have to congratulate director Kim Ji-Hoon for this undertaking and accomplishment.  The film is entertaining, indeed, but I’m not sure it’s actually entertaining in the sense Ji-Hoon wanted.

SECTOR 7 takes place entirely on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean.  The story follows the rag tag crew and their mission to find oil in what seems to be an area devoid of such resources.  Soon, an innocent underwater discovery turns deadly as a giant monster is unleashed on the rig’s inhabitants.  By this description alone, I had to see the film.  Even after the bad reviews I’ve read and the trailer I watched, I still had to see it.

What’s amusing about Kim Ji-Hoon’s film is that he obviously watches a lot of American block busters.  The movie opened and immediately, I got the impression that this film was a South Korean remake of ARMAGEDDON.  Seriously, I was waiting for Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler to make their appearance at any moment!  We come close with Hae-jun aka “Hardass” (played by Ji-won Ha) and Dong-soo (played by Ji-ho Oh).  And I’ll go on record now by saying, the whole cast of actors on this production actually brought great performances.  The acting was a higher caliber than I’d expect with such a film.

Starting with the feel of ARMAGEDDON, the film took turns which seemed to emulate a handful of American films’ blockbusters past.  There was some TITANIC in there, mixed with THE ABYSS, obviously ALIENS, and even possibly THE THING.  I suppose the best form of flattery is imitation, right? Well I guess so.  But the problem with SECTOR 7 is that this focus on emulating such films, ultimately results in the loss of sight of some important aspects of the overall film’s story and sense of dread, suspense, or horror.

Let’s also not forget the monster!  Once we see the creature in question, which takes over a half an hour of waiting, it’s a bit of a let down.  The CGI here is fantastic…if we’re playing a video game on the Sega Dreamcast.  Seriously, with committed performances by all the actors, the lack of quality in effects really was a disappointment.  At one point, I even had a revelation that if SUCKERPUNCH was all effects and little plot or content, then SECTOR 7 was the absolute opposite.  I could be going a bit far with that thought, but if you see the film you may get my point.

There were moments in the film where the use of green screen was distractingly obvious.  Not to mention, I have little understanding as to why this movie was actually in 3D!  I found only one moment in the movie where the use of 3D was justifiable.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the ample slow motion shots of the monster (which at this point resembled a cross between a Skeksi from THE DARK CRYSTAL and turkey dinner leftovers) jumping after Hae-jun and Dong-soo!

Ok, I get it, up to this point in the review you’re probably thinking I hated this movie.  But I didn’t.  SECTOR 7 (in 3D) is a bad movie.  But it’s so bad, so dang ridiculous, that it’s damn fun to watch.  Ridiculous, dare I say, like any Michael Bay movie!  Overall, the movie blended comedy with horror (not really horror), excelling way more at the comedy part of things.  SECTOR 7 is definitely a fun film to experience as long as you enter the theater (maybe under the influence of something illicit) knowing you’re about to watch a stupidly ridiculous plot hole filled film.

SECTOR 7 (in 3D) is now playing in IMAX in South Korea.  Who knows if we’ll ever get the film to play in America? If we do, however, go see this stupidly ridiculous thing.  Or don’t.  – Aaron Pruner


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