Review: Unborn But Forgotten – Hayanbang (2002)

Unborn But Forgotten – Hayanbang (2002)

Directed by: Chang-jae Lim | 95 minutes | horror | Actors: Jun-ho Jeong, Eun-ju Lee, Seong-Yong Kye, Kan-hie Lee, So-yeon Lee, Ji-yeon Myeong

The film begins with a gruesome scene. A woman is bathed in blood. A man enters the gray bathroom. All kinds of noises are heard as the woman is tossed about. Then she’s dead.

Several women die during their pregnancy. It’s a mystery why. When detective Choi hears about these mysterious cases, he decides to investigate. His girlfriend and journalist Soo-Jin follows him for an article. It soon becomes apparent that all the deceased women have clicked on the site of an abortion clinic. All died after clicking on the site. ‘Unborn but Forgotten’ is one of many variations on ‘The Ring’ (2002) or ‘Ringu’ (1998). If in ‘The Ring’ it is a video tape that brings death, then it is an internet site here. Pity. A lost video tape is always more mysterious than a site on the internet. ‘Unborn But Forgotten’ is the international title by the way. The original name of the film is ‘Hayanbang’.

The atmosphere of the movie is very good. Cold, gray, simple. No exaggerated horror effects, no women running up the stairs screaming. Definitely not an American movie. ‘Unborn But Forgotten’ is a South Korean film. Films that seem to be of increasing interest, probably because of the simple but effective way of filming. The story of ‘Unborn But Forgotten’ may be unoriginal and unrealistic, but the actors seem believable. It’s a shame that some characters aren’t fleshed out a bit more. It is also a pity that it is not clear what exactly is going on between the two main characters.

Director Lim Chang-Jae, who makes his directorial debut with this film, manages to create a grim atmosphere with black and white images, clear white rooms and beautiful angles. Too bad the story is so incredibly slow. That’s probably why the movie isn’t really scary. Some films get their strength from this, but a horror must have a very good story if the film is to remain exciting at such a slow pace. What the director does succeed in is creating ambiguity. The main characters satisfactorily unravel a number of mysteries, but plenty of questions remain for a second part.

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