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A RECORD OF SWEET MURDER (2014)

aka ARU YASASHIKI SATSUJINSHA NO KIROKU, A RECORD OF SWEET MURDERER
Directed by Kôji Shiraishi
Written by Kôji Shiraishi
Starring Je-wook Yeon, Kkobbi Kim, Tsukasa Aoi, Ryôtarô Yonemura, Kôji Shiraishi
Find out more about this film here

While A RECORD OF SWEET MURDER follows the rules of the found footage genre pretty well in order to convince the viewer of its authenticity, the lack of budget seems to highlight the weaknesses. There are a lot of admirable performances in A RECORD OF SWEET MURDER, but it isn’t enough to sustain the entire film.

When a madman escapes from an institution and goes on the run, he contacts a former schoolmate who is now an investigative reporter, asking her to document a special ritual that he feels hearkens the beginning of the end of the world. Filmed in a found footage style, the madman threatens to kill all involved if the camera stops rolling.

A RECORD OF SWEET MURDER, or A RECORD OF SWEET MURDERER if translated exactly, has a decent premise, but spends way too much time leading up to that premise. Basically, the entire film is leadup to the final few minutes. There is a lot of talking. A lot of screaming. And an uncomfortable time dedicated to degrading, raping, and accosting women in this film. There is a promise for an end of the world scenario, but anything like that occurs in the last few minutes, forcing the viewer to endure some pretty heinous acts before those promises come true. The film relies on the performances from the cast to sustain this interest, but it just doesn’t accomplish that goal. I don’t know if it is the fact that this was a foreign language film or if the actors just weren’t up to the task of being wholly convincing, but I felt as if the runtime was padded with unnecessary conflict and dialog, unnecessary characters, and extended scenes of rape, murder, and torture, in order to make this feel like a legitimate full length film.

Had A RECORD OF SWEET MURDER been a short film, I think it would have been much more successful in packing the punch it intends. Instead, I felt like there just wasn’t enough to make an entire movie here. It’s just five people trapped in a room screaming at each other and doing bad things to one another for an hour plus with some weird scenes tacked on to the end. The film does begin with some decent tension and the fact that it was able to make a whole film using one camera is technically impressive. The actors also seemed to do a decent job with what little story they were given. There just wasn’t enough story there to sustain interest, unfortunately.