Genre fusion is all the rage these days. Enticing expectations, one simply thrills at the prospect of some of the best genre offerings by the South Korean cinema in a single film. But it hurts even further when superficiality greets you instead.
Based upon the original novel by Japanese author Asa Nonami, South Korean director Ha Yu gives it a go at crime thrillers with a vengeful intention (renowned theme in some of the better known films from the nation) and also notable attempts at horror/suspense that didn't score. Casting great actors with the likes of Song Kang-Ho (The Host) and Lee Na-Yeong (Please Teach Me English) doesn't save the film from falling from grace.
We witness a demising crime in the opening scene before the usual stylised opening title and credits impact upon the audience just to assure and impress film investors with some creative editing work. Now it's time for some plot context and character development (if lucky), but there is no presence of any.
Unfamiliar with either the genre or film itself, Ha Yu stiches the sequences together with a high degree of irregular pacing and haphazardness. I often observe jarring sequencing with some shots feeling out of place and redundant (possibly due to a lack of footage). Adding in implausible moments and weak plot points (the revelations and change in events are often beyond my comprehension), it leaves me curious as to whether the original novel or the filmmakers are the source of woes.
This is aggravated with the poor editing work where scenes and sequences are cut at awkward moments, which is highly noticeable throughout the screening. There is an extraordinary acceleration in the film's pace from the second act onwards, where the film gears into "investigation mode".
Several pieces of the mystery were fed aggressively to the audience with several random names and character relationship spewing relentlessly. With competent editing, the massive amount of information might be better handled with a comfortable pacing for the audience to digest in appreciation. But here, it is not the case.
Despite all the above, there are some acceptable camera work (depicted during the high speed car/motorcycle scenes) featured in this film.
The film's antagonist is arguably the wolf-dog hybrid animal, which is depicted as a highly intelligent and capable killing machine. While not able to perform verbally onscreen, its demeanour and expressions say more than what some of the supporting cast can communicate to the audience. It is a pity that the wolf-dog's character development is dependent on the human characters around it.
The Killer Wolf leaves me feeling unsatisfied and puzzled to its plot. I subtly suspect that Ha Yu might not even be fully familiar with the novel material. It is interesting to observe that the only one who fully understood everything right from the start to the end might actually be the wolf-dog.
Towards the end when all human hope (and the film) fails, it is the wolf-dog's loyalty and memory that prevails. But that said, the wolf-dog will not be worth the ticket price either in my opinion.