Tag Archives: Serial Killer

Aggravated Momentum, a novel by Didi Oviatt (2016)

I should this start this review off by making a huge apology. I have made a promise to the author of this book to write a review for it in what seems like ages ago. It’s strange that I love reading so very much, but always get drawn back into the worlds of movie magic and anime so much faster. It makes me feel guilty even more when I tell you who the author of this book is (Okay, I guess that was kind of hard to miss when you look at the title for this post). Yes this book was written by none other than our very own Didi Oviatt. If you have somehow not come across her blog yet, you would be missing out on one of the most supportive people that are in this wordpress community. Always kind, always offering words of encouragement to other people, she really is one of the driving forces of the wordpress community and a really amazing person. So press on that link and go follow her blog, if you haven’t already done so. But, she is also an author. And a damn good one at that, as this novel I just read is pretty much one of the best thrillers I have ever come across in my life. So Didi, I’m sorry it took me so long, but this post is for you!

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As you can pretty much see from the cover, Aggravated Momentum is not a novel that is telling a nice fluffy tale. But hey, as most of you know, I love the more darker and bloody stories anyway, and this one certainly is one of those. Markie is a woman who has recently lost her best friend Beth at the hands of a brutal serial killer. She has been trying to come to terms with that death as best she can. While she begins to pick up the pieces of her life again, her younger sister Kammie tries to support her in that. Urging her to go out more and just live life to the fullest. But it seems the unknown murderer’s work isn’t done yet. As a lot of horrific events are beginning to take place in Markie’s life, it is beginning to become clear to her that she seems to be at the centre of it all. With her unrelenting stalker coming ever closer, Markie’s world is beginning to unravel more and more around her. Fear and paranoia are taking control of her mind, and grip her like a vice. But the real nightmare has only just started….

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I started reading this book a few weeks ago, and in between a flu and some other real life events happening I finally was able to finish it today. Now I can hear you thinking already: well this probably means the book didn’t grab my attention. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Because I finished this book in pretty much two days of reading when I finally came back to it. This book is simply put an incredible pageturner that grips you tight from the opening sentence, and never let’s go of you until the final page. It really is that good. It’s told from a first person perspective, but not only from the point of view of the main character, but also all the others that are featured in this book. I usually am not a huge fan of that style, but this book was a very noteworthy exception to that rule. How I loved the characters in this book! All of them were lifelike and the way that Didi described them made them pretty much appear in your mind as if they were people you might have known all your life.

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When an author is able to do that through his or her writing, that makes it all the more satisfying to me. But it’s not only the characters that are brought to life in such a great way. I never got bored for a single second. There usually is always some point in a book where your attention seems to waver or where the pacing feels a bit off. That never happened here. I loved the twists and shocks that the book offered. One of those was the reveal of the killer (yes, we also get his viewpoint in this book), and I think the loud bang of my jaw hitting the floor must have been heard pretty much all the way across the world. I at least did not see it coming, and there were many more of these wonderful twists that make your head spin. While the book was certainly bloody and at times very sexy as well, it never went overboard in any way. All of the scenes just felt right and weren’t just woven in the tale just for the sake of it all.

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So with all these high words of praise was there anything I didn’t like in this book? Well, honestly, no. I could go for being very petty and say there were a few typos in the book, but that would be reaching, and pretty much every novel has them. What we have here is a truly solid thriller that everyone who loves stories of serial killers, and novels that crank up the tension to the breaking point should definitely check out. It’s a bloody, steamy and at times horrific but oh so delicious tale of mayhem that you just have to check out. My only regret is that I didn’t start reading this book sooner, and I’m definitely going to be on the look out for the rest of Didi’s books in the future. That is pretty much a given, and hey I was already a fan of her so there is that. Oh, just so you know: it might seem that Didi asked me to write all this, but I can assure you she did not. This was my own undertaking, and my own opinion on the book as well. So, all I can say is don’t take my word for it, download/buy this novel today. You need this in your life.

I give Aggravated Momentum a 10 out of 10 score.

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Tunnel, Korean drama series (2017)

People have always held a kind of  morbid fascination when it comes to serial killers. One has to wonder why on Earth that is. There is nothing romantic about it. In fact when you look at all the serial killers from the past and present all you see is a lot of sadness and pain. Especially for the families of the victims of these often loathsome individuals. What drives one to become one? Some of them are just born that way, and have an evil inside them from a very young age. But it also happens that something triggers it. Choosing the wrong friends, an abusive childhood, a traumatic experience, all of these might be the cause of turning someone into a murderous psychopath. But they also say that each and every one of us has a dark side. Which brings me back to my original question, why are we so obsessed with them. Is it because of that inner darkness that we all have inside and that we have to satisfy it in some way? You think I am overreacting? Well, look at the sheer amount of movies and books about serial killers. Got you there didn’t I? Getting creeped out already by this post? Am I getting under your skin? Insert evil grin. No worries…this introduction only served to set the tone for the thrilling Korean drama series Tunnel. Which of course features a serial killer, and time travel. Say what?!?

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Why are you looking at me with such a dumb face?

It is the year 1986 when we meet up with Park Gwang Ho a police detective who is always very determined, enthusiastic and takes his job very seriously. One a day a horrific series of killings shakes up his police district. Women are found dead, having been strangled with their own stockings, and strange dots are left behind on their ankles. Purely by chance the detective stumbles on the culprit and gives chase on foot. Eventually the killer and Park Gwang Ho end up in a tunnel where a fight between them begins. Unfortunately the killer gets the upper hand and strikes our hero on the head leaving him unconscious. When he wakes up and exits the tunnel, he gets the shock of his life. Apparently Park Gwang Ho has been transported thirty years into the future leaving him stranded in the year 2016. Determined to find his way back home and to his wife he left behind, he assumes the identity of a police detective who carries the same name as himself. Together with a new (and in the beginning very reluctant) partner named Kim Sun Jae, and a beautiful but mysterious criminal profiler and psychology professor Shin Jae Yi, he tries to fit into this new and unfamiliar world. But when it seems the murders that he tried to stop 30 years ago are starting up again, things become very grim indeed. The serial killer is still at large and will stop at nothing to continue with his killing spree……

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Who are you calling a cold fish?!?!

Time travel and a serial killer blended into one single series? That is pretty much a match made in heaven. While this 16 episode series wasn’t perfect, it was very enjoyable and I bingewatched the hell out of it finishing it in about 3 days. One of the best things in this Korean drama is once again it’s characters. The three leads had a very good chemistry between them, which helped make this series a cut above the rest. Actor Choi Jin-huyk brings to life the hero time travelling cop and he just had a vibrant energy to his role that worked very well. He seems to be able to handle a wide range of emotions, from heartbreak to comedy, and he is able to switch between them in the blink of an eye. His future partner played by actor Yoon Hyun-min is more serious, but the chemistry between both actors is terrific. I really enjoyed some of their comedic banter that hardly ever failed to bring a smile to my face and a lot of their scenes together were certainly the highlight of this series. And then there was actress Lee Yoo-young who played the role of Shin Jae Yi. She was a bit of a cold fish at the start of this series, and I did not really know what to make of her. But when the series progressed her character began to grow, and at the end I really ended up liking her very much. She was very heroic and a verbal exchange between her and the killer in one of the show’s final episodes gave me goosebumps. She played that scene so incredibly well and lifelike.

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This guy had such a fun role (yeah I know he looks like he doesn’t have much humor)

Speaking of the role of the killer, and I am not going to mention the actor’s name in fear of spoilers, I can only say one thing: WOW! What a loathsome, terrifying and incredibly evil monster did this actor give birth too. It is an incredible performance and out of the many serial killer roles that I have seen in my life, he certainly is in the top three. That’s for sure. Over the course of the 16 episodes that this series has, we get a story that has some nice shocks and tension, some comedy (mainly because of a few side characters that I haven’t named here, but really help to relieve some of the darker aspects of the show), and heartbreak as well. That said, there were also some moments during the middle of the drama where I felt it began to feel a bit slow. But luckily those moment did not carry on and the final episodes really made you forget those moments very quickly. Another element that I was a bit dissappointed by was the use of the timetravel aspect of this series. I had expected it to be used more, with maybe some clever jumps in between the timelines, but sadly that did not really happen.

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See? I rest my case 🙂

Still, this Korean drama was a wonderful show. Even though it had some dark events happening in it, it never became too depressing. Most serial killing movies/series always seem to go to for the shocks or the horror, and while there were certainly scenes like that in it, there was also enough room for other more lighthearted things which was very refreshing. Tunnel is well worth checking out and also a series that for me at least seems like a good one to watch if you have never entered the world of the Korean dramas before. With memorable characters, a great, gripping and often tense story, this drama will leave a lasting impression in your mind. Well, that wasn’t too bad was it? I know the beginning of this review might have creeped you out, but hey it had to be done. Even I have a dark side…..

I give Tunnel a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Black, Korean Dramaseries (2017)

There is a question that many people wonder about. What happens when we die? Will we simply cease to exist? Will we somehow be reborn, enter Heaven or maybe even Hell? No matter what you believe in, I don’t think it’s a question that we will ever get an answer to until the moment arrives. Now, I don’t know about you, but I for one am pretty happy to postpone that moment for as long as I can. It’s not that I fear death, but I am pretty happy with living right now thank you very much. But we all check out at some point, that’s pretty much the only certainty we have in life. (Oh yeah, and taxes but I always tend to forget that one for some reason). Well, I can hear you thinking right now: “This is a very cheerful subject:NOT! I’m going to move on and check out something else”. Well, if you do you are going to miss out on a review for the best Korean drama series that I have seen so far in my life. So please bare with me just a little bit longer okay?

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My name is Black…..erm, no that’s it, just Black. 

 

In Black we meet up with Kang Ha-ram a young woman who has always had a very special ability ever since she was a child. When she looks at people she sometimes sees dark shadows forming behind them. These shadows are always the signs that the death of that person is very near. Ha-ram hasn’t been happy with this power at all, and the only way she can avoid it, is by wearing sunglasses. One day she crosses paths with police officer Han Moo-gang who she is stunned to recognise as a boy from her childhood, one was always very kind to her. She has not seen him in almost 20 years, but it appears that he has really changed. He doesn’t seem at all like the kindhearted young boy who she remembers, but instead has turned into a very coldhearted insensitive man. And she would be right, as Moo-gang has not only changed but is now possessed by a Grim Reaper. But this is not the only problem that Ha-rang is going to face. When a body is found, certain events are set in motion that will uncover a very dark secret and conspiracy that has been buried for a very long time. And certain people will stop at nothing to prevent that secret from rising to the surface…..even it means killing everyone in their path.

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Some people just hate missing the bus. 

Okay, let me make one thing clear, and this is very, very important. Do not, I repeat not drop this show after watching the first two episodes. I almost did this, and am eternally grateful that I did not. When this series starts you will be very confused. What exactly is this series trying to be? Is it a police drama, a supernatural mystery, or, and this is what I feared the most, a slapstick comedy? The first two episodes were a mess and the “comedy” was so cringeworthy that I very nearly gave up. But man, am I glad that I did not. Black is a show that by the time you start with episode 3 is almost impossible to turn off. The story it tells is tense, gripping, emotional and will have you in tears, on the edge of your seat, as well as laughing all at the same time. It’s a rollercoaster ride that will never let up. The best element in this series is how it draws you the viewer into the storyline trying to figure out how all the puzzlepieces fit together. And just when you think you have figured it all out, it throws another twist at you, and you have to start from scratch again.

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Sometimes you just want to sit down on the sidewalk. I always do that every day. 

There is a huge cast of actors, and as such it’s impossible to cover them all. I will instead focus on the two leads, but suffice it to say that every single actor involved in this series is great. No matter how small their parts were. And no, that is not me just saying so, just to get this over and done with in a quick way. Actor Song Seung-heon plays the part of the Grim Reaper possessed cop Moo-gang. His acting is superb and I love the way how his character evolved throughout the series. He can tackle basically everything, from actionscenes, to anger, to comedy to drama, everything he does is believable. His precense just lights up the screen everywhere he appears. But his chemistry with lead actress Go Ara, who plays the role of Ha-ram is also a huge part of what makes this series work so well. And speaking of her, you will completely fall in love with the character she portrays. Ha-ram is a feisty woman, who always has some very snappy comebacks, but is also very caring and emotional at the same time. This series is really her story, and that’s why it is important to have an actress who can carry that part. Go Ara really gets the job done, and then some.

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The new generation of Pokemon balls had also found it’s way into the afterlife. 

Black is a series that blends many elements together and that’s why it can be enjoyed by a pretty large number of people. Even though the show has supernatural elements, it never let’s these elements take the upper hand. Above all this is a solid and very cleverly written murder mystery, with a touch of action and suspense and the occasional humor thrown into the mix. And of course there is also some romance, but this only adds to the strength of the series instead of diminishing it. So in case you haven’t yet noticed, I absolutely loved this show. The only reason I haven’t given it the perfect 10/10 score is that the first two episodes just felt out of place. And seriously, I was very close to dropping it, something I almost never do. But the rest of this Korean drama series is so fantastic, that I have all but forgotten about that. If you have yet to watch your first K-drama series, this might be the one to start with. I guarantee that you will not regret this. So, this concludes my review for the second series for the Korean Drama theme month. What’s up next you ask? I haven’t yet quite decided, but rest assured there is one more series review to come. Thank you for reading!

I give Black a 9 out of 10 score.

Stranger, Korean Drama series (2017)

Okay, I’m going to start this review with a small confession. No worries, it really isn’t anything as shocking along the lines of ” I am really a serial killer”. But, here it comes nonetheless: I can be a really emotional guy. When there is injustice I can become really annoyed, and sometimes even very angry. But on the other side of the spectrum I can also cry at things that happen in a movie, or even at certain very personal blog posts. But really don’t hold that against me, okay? Emotions, or lack thereof, can tell a lot about a person. It pretty much defines what makes a person tick, at least that is what I think in my humble opinion. I have always wondered what would happen if I would possess no kind of emotion whatsoever. Let’s just take a few seconds and try to grasp what that means. You would not know when to laugh at a joke. When someone close to you dies, you would shed no tears. Even though there are certain moments in your life you maybe would have loved to lose a few emotions, I for one would never want to lose any of them. Because it would completely change my personality. And that, in a roundabout way brings me to this Korean drama.

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Get used to it: that expression on the face of the guy is pretty much the only one he knows. 

Prosecutor Hwang Shi-Mok underwent a brain surgery as a child. This surgery has now caused him to lack any kind of emotion. He is a cold, calculated and very rational guy, that is very good at his job. His lack of empathy and social skills however, make it extremely hard for him to sometimes interact with other people. One day while investigating a new case, he finds the person he is looking into dead in his house. When the police arrives at the scene Shi-Mok doesn’t communicate with any of them, but instead focusses on finding the killer. This suspicious behaviour at first makes him a suspect. Police inspector Han Yeo-Jin is the one who is assigned the task of solving the case, and soon finds out that Hwang is innocent of the crime. Eventually the two of them team up to find the real killer. But when they find the alleged murderer, it soon becomes very clear that there is more to the case then both of them realise. A cesspool of corruption has been opened, one that is so deep that it goes to the highest levels of the justice department. Dark and dirty secrets are about to be revealed, and some people will stop at nothing to keep them buried….

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Run Forrest, run…..

Having just finished this Korean drama I have to say it has left me behind with mixed feelings. I certainly would not call this series bad, but there are certain things that I also didn’t like and that at the end kept me from really enjoying this to the fullest. As far as the story goes I have to say that it is incredibly complex containing many layers, and one could argue that it contains too many layers. Part murder mystery, part legal drama, with elements of corporate espionage, corruption and even soap opera thrown into the mix, Stranger has at times trouble in deciding what it wants to be. There were some truly intense and incredibly powerful moments in the show that really put a smile on my face. Some twists and turns where certainly unexpected, and added to the fun of watching this series. But then there were also episodes that were, for lack of a better word, rather dull, and just seemed to drag on and on. The story as mentioned is incredibly complex and because of it’s complexity there were moments where I lost track of things.

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Look at my fist: I have got your emotions right here! 

This last fact was only made even worse because of the huge number of characters that this drama contains. I usually don’t like shows or novels that contain such a huge cast of names that it becomes hard to remember who a certain person was. But despite that fact it’s the acting in this series that really is one of it’s strongest points. Hwang Shi-Mok, played by Cho Seung-Woo is a character that is hard to grow attached to. Because of his lack of emotions he walks around the series with pretty much the same expression on his face at every scene. At first this becomes very tedious, but then I started to realise what a brilliant job the actor is really doing. It is incredibly hard to just not respond emotionally to people that are laughing or crying. I came to really enjoy Shi-Mok’s awkwardness, especially around police detective Han Yeo-Jin. She was played by actress Bae Doo-Na and became my favorite character of the series. The complete opposite of Shi-Mok, she is a feisty and tenacious woman, who tries her best to solve the case but at the same time shows empathy when she needs to. And she is also in for a joke or two, often at the expense of her partner.

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Please don’t look at me that way: I won’t laugh anyway. 

Another thing that is worth mentioning is the music that supports this drama. It certainly ranks as the best background music I have heard in any Korean drama series to date, and helps bring the atmosphere of this series to life. In the end I can say that I do recommend the show. Even though there are certainly moments in it’s 16 episode run that really are pretty boring, there also enough things in it that balance the score in the end. The difficult and complex script, does eventually pay off, and the acting in the series alone is certainly worth watching it for. While there are definitely better dramas out there, it’s a good series if you are just willing to invest some time and patience in it. If you have become interested in the show after reading this, you can watch the series on Netflix. This concludes the first post for my theme month of Korean dramas. Thanks as always for reading and see you at the next post!

I give Stranger a 7 out of 10 score.

 

Erased, Japanese Tv series (2017)

Last year I saw an anime that ended up being one of the best that I have ever seen to date in my life. It was called Erased and I gave it a perfect score at the time. Having not yet revisited it I don’t know if I would give it the same score today that I gave it back then. The review for it was written in the early days of my blog, but I do know that I absolutely loved it. So when I heard they were going to be producing a live action series based on the manga/anime, the first thought that went through my mind was “Oh God, please not this again”. As most anime fans will know, the reputation for these kind of shows/movies that are based on our beloved animated series isn’t one to be very proud of. In fact, it’s downright abysmal if you look at it closely. But, since I loved the anime so much I decided to at least watch the pilot for this one and give it a chance……So, I guess you are all waiting for what I eventually thought of it huh? Okay, I will get to that after I present the plot, but how about when I say that this might just be the best live action anime adaptation ever. Did that catch your attention? Right…as I was saying let’s start with the plot first.

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Hey! No pictures please!

The aspiring manga artist Satoru has a gift. Or a curse depending on which way you look at it. With the ability called Revival he is able to travel back in time to prevent bad things from happening. He always experiences it just before some kind of calamity occurs, and he usually has a short time window to stop it. But Satoru is always able to save the day just in time. But then one day he arrives home and finds his mother dead on the floor with a knife sticking out of her back. With his hands covered in blood Satoru becomes the prime suspect for this grissly deed. Just when he is about to get caught by the police his Revival ability kicks in. But this time it takes him back farther in time than ever before. To his childhood to be exact, 18 years in the past. Now with his adult mind in the driver’s seat of his 11 year old self, he has to find a way to prevent his mother’s death and that of three of his classmates. Most notably the young girl Kayo Hinazuki who he has grown very close to. But his opponent is a very cunning and brutal serial killer that will stop at nothing to achieve his goals…….

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Are you going to eat that cake?

One of the things that live action adaptations, or any adaptations as a matter of fact usually get wrong is that they stray too far from the source material. Or don’t even use it at all. And that’s where Erased really shines. This 12 part Netflix series captures the heart and soul of what made the original so great in the first place. Things like friendship, never giving up, but also it’s darker themes such as child abuse all make an appearance. In the first 6-7 episodes the people who have seen the anime will find it follows the storyline very closely. They throw a few other things and twists in the mix but other than that it resembles it’s anime counterpart almost exactly. In what can be called the second act, it diverges it’s story into other directions without going completely off the rails. In fact I liked that they also devised some original storylines as well, because else the outcome would have been very predictable.

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Did I mention there were some heartwarming moments in this series?

Another thing you will notice when you start watching this is how gorgeous everything looks. The cinematography is stunning in this series. From the bleak factories, to the snowfilled landscapes and beautiful sunsets, everything almost looks like a painting. It really helps in setting the overall tone and atmosphere for this. The acting for this is also pretty good with one noteworthy exception. The children especially are extremely well cast, particularly the girl who plays the young Hinazuki. Just as in the anime she really is going through hell in this show, and the tv series doesn’t shy away from that subject either. Even though Hinazuki appears to be a little bit older than her anime counterpart, the actress that portrays her does a great job making us care about her character. In fact the only actress I didn’t like in certain scenes was the one who plays Airi, the girl who has a crush on the older Satoru. There were a couple of moments that were a bit cringeworthy in the way she portrayed them, but they don’t cause enough trouble to really become a problem.

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Erm, I would change my shirt if I were you. It looks like you had an accident with the ketchup bottle.

If I want to be nitpicking I can also point out that there is a certain character that at one point has a fake beard that looks so stupid it is almost laughable. In fact I found myself wondering who on Earth came up with that. But that’s a relatively minor issue in what is otherwise a truly awesome show. With the episodes being only 30 minutes long, Erased has the name bingewatch written all over it. If you have not yet seen the anime I think you are going to enjoy this series even more than those who did. As the show basically tells the same story there are not many surprises in store for the fans of the anime. But as a fan I can say that I still enjoyed this one immensely. This is without a doubt the best anime live action adaptation that I have ever seen and I highly recommend this series. It is not as good as the anime, in that I can be honest, but it does come very, very close. Erased is a really terrific series that tells a heartbreaking, exciting and sometimes downright chilling story. I dare you not to finish this one in one go.

I give Erased a 9 out of 10 score.

 

Bad Guys, Korean Drama Series (2014)

I love watching Korean dramaseries, but for some reason I am always running behind with reviews for these. It usually takes me a bit of time to finish them too, and that is not because I don’t enjoy them. On the contrary I absolutely love them, but as always there are only so many hours in a day, and you can only watch one thing at a time. For people who might be unfamiliair with Korean dramas let me give a small introduction for you. (I have done this before so feel free to skip this part and continue to read the next paragraph). Still here? Okay then. Korean dramaseries are tv series that usually contain around 20 episodes and cover a wide range of topics. Romance, historical period pieces, crime, even science fiction is entering the range of titles on offer. The great thing is that these are selfcontained stories, so there is never the risk of a series getting cancelled and leaving unfinished threads. Although there are a few exceptions of dramas getting a second season if it is succesful. One of these is the 2014 crimedrama Bad Guys.

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Well, I did warn you that this series could get bloody right?

In Bad Guys we meet up with detective Oh Gu-tak who has a nickname: Mad Dog. He certainly seems to live up to his reputation as he doesn’t shy away from using pretty excessive measures to catch criminals. But you can’t really blame him as years back his only daughter was murdered by a brutal serial killer. Since then he has been living with guilt and certainly isn’t the same man that he used to be. When a series of new murders take place in his district, Oh Gu-tak comes up with an unorthodox plan to capture the killer. He enlists the help of three dangerous criminals that are currently residing in prison. One is a psychopath and serial killer himself, the other a former mob boss, and the final member of Oh Gu-tak’s new crimefighting squad is a hired hit-man that never made a mistake, but eventually turned himself in. The person who eventually ends up catching the criminal, will get his sentence reduced. Things are not as easy as it seems though. Everyone has a very hard time getting along, but there also seems to be a tie that connects these four people together. A tie rooted in a very dark past and that might have very dire consequences…..

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He did not get the nickname Mad Dog for nothing.

This crimedrama is a very dark and bloody show, and honestly that is how I like them. Where the series at first starts off as a show that seems to focus itself on catching a different criminal in each episode, we soon get a storyline that branches out and carries on throughout the course of the series. The plot is very clever and it’s nice to continually try to find new pieces of the story and figure out what is going on.  It also contains quite a bit of action, featuring carchases and impressive fight scenes that have a blockbuster movie quality to them. This being a crime story it contains some very dark material at times, and there are a few brutal scenes, but it never goes too far or becomes to explicit to watch.

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I am not kidding, this guy wears this expression the entire series. Even his hair seems to agree with him.

The real highlight of this show however are the actors. The level of performances that are given in this show are really off the charts, and truly worth the watch. Detective Oh Gu-tak is played by Kim Sang-joong and he is very impressive to say the least. This is the first time I have seem him in a show or movie, but the way he portrays this quite frankly frightening character is astonishing. His grief and trauma over the death of his daughter really come to the fore in his performance and makes him so fascinating to watch. Ma Dong-seok who people might recognise from Train to Busan, plays the former mobster Pak Un-seol. His character provides some of the much needed comic relief in what is otherwise a very dark series. He gives another solid performance and certainly became one of my favorite characters of the show.

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You would almost think that this guy is a vampire…..

The most human character and the one with the highest level of charisma is the hired hit-man Jung Tae-soo. He is pretty much the only one that really struggles with the deeds that he has done, and his background story is the one that got to me the most. Ofcourse I am not going to spoil things for you, but suffice it to say that it’s pretty touching. The last member of the band of misfits is psychopath Lee Jung-moon, played by Park Hae-jin. Quite frankly this guy gave me the creeps. His continually stoic expression throughout the series seriously was unnerving, but it was a terrific and very chilling role. We also have a female police detective called Yoo Mi-young played by Kang Ye-won. Quite frankly she is the only one that I did not really like in this series. I found her character to be pretty boring and not really fitting the rest of the high caliber acting that was done in this series.

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This is the Korean version of Spanish bullfighting.

This 11 episode series was a delight to watch. With the exception of a few moments in later episodes, this was a well paced series that had a really interesting plot, solid performances and a great atmosphere. Bad Guys is getting a second season, but sadly with an entirely different cast of characters. Which I think is a real shame as the cast for this show was simply put amazing. If you like crime dramas or serial killer stories and have yet to experience your first Korean dramaseries, this might be your perfect way to start. If you are looking for a way to watch this drama legally and for free you can check out the website Viki. This series together with scores of others can be found there in high quality, and there is a drama on that site for everyone.

I give Bad Guys a 8 out of 10 score.

Chaos; Child, Anime tv series (2017)

Throughout history there have been many serial killers that spread a wave of fear amongst the general population. A lot of them were luckily caught, but there were also some cases that have never been solved. Imagine being a detective that has been given the job to catch such a killer. Where would you start with? And also think of the pressure you would be under if the bodycount keeps going up. Serial killer stories have been the subject for many movies and tv series. For some twisted reason, people just keep enjoying that subject, and admittedly they have provided a couple of great and classic movies. Anime has also had it’s share of serial killer stories, like for instance the terrific series Erased. And now we have Chaos;Child, but to call this a show just about a serial killer, is selling it short and doesn’t even begin to cover it. It is a blend of a lot of different genres, that is both it’s greatest strength, but also at the same time it’s greatest weakness. But lets first start with the story itself.

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Yep, sometimes it can be quite tough to be a murder investigator. 

The city of Shibuya has been struck by a massive earthquake, an event that happened six years in the past. It is now the year 2015, and the survivors of that terrible day are trying to get on with their lives, after the city itself has been completely rebuild. One of those survivors is a young man called Takuru Miyashiro, who is a member of his school’s newspaper club. He is currently investigating a string of grissly murders, that leads him to believe that a serial killer is currently active. But soon he begins to realise that the murders bear an uncanny resemblance to a case that was known as The New Generation Murder Madness, which happened right before the earthquake struck. Even more frightening is the fact that the people that are getting killed now, are dying on the exact same dates as the killings that took place six years ago. Soon Takuru gets sucked into a mystery that will have dire consequences for himself, but also for the people that are close to him….

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The new commercial for tomato ketchup had gotten quite out of hand. 

Chaos; Child is a series that is a cocktail of so many different genres, that it’s pretty hard to describe in which category this one falls. So I am not going to even attempt to try and do that. But I for one quite liked this series, despite it having quite a few flaws as well. But let’s first start with the positive notes. One thing this anime does very well is create a very creepy and intense atmosphere. That’s where the horror elements come in. The murders that are taking place in this series, are honestly quite brutal and disturbing. Which means this anime is certainly not for the faint at heart. Another thing that I loved in Chaos;Child, is the mystery elements and numerous twists. Your mind pretty much went into overdrive with each episode in trying to figure out what was going on along with Takuru. Certain revelations and events sometimes really came as quite a shock, and left you breathless.

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I would cry too if my presents got trashed like this. 

 

However the series also had quite a few flaws. The amount of information that was sometimes thrown at viewers during an episode was staggering, and at times made it hard to follow along. This anime was a sequel to Chaos;Head, which I haven’t seen, and the first episode did a recap for that series. That in itself is a good thing, but it showed a lot of the information in the form of an internet forum, with numerous texts appearing at the same time. I actually had to pause the series at certain times during that episode just to read everything. The characters in Chaos;Child are also introduced very rapidly, and in that way it was hard to form an attachment to them. Most of them, with a few exceptions, just are not that interesting, and when some of them eventually end up getting killed, you don’t really care enough about them to be bothered by it.

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I did mention this series was quite disturbing at times right? 

As mentioned earlier this series mixes together a lot of different elements. Horror, mystery, supernatural, psychic powers and even science fiction elements are all in this series at some point. It made it a very interesting show for me, but I can also see how people might not like that fact. Chaos;Child is not an easy watch. The first episode alone is a hard one to get through, but it does eventually pay off to continue with this series. The storyline, despite it’s many elements, is quite clever and has been put together very well. When you reach the final episode, your brain might already have exploded in trying to figure out what it is you just watched. I for one found it a series that kept on going in my mind, which is usually a good thing. I am definitely going to track down Chaos;Head, if only for the fact if by seeing that one, certain things in this series might start to make more sense. If you like horror and supernatural series, and are not one to quit on a series after just one episode, this series will provide enough entertainment for you.

I give Chaos;Child a 8 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Things to look forward to in 2017 (Tv series)

As much excitement as there is in the cinema next year, there is just as much to enjoy (if not even more so) on the small screen next year. If I am being totally honest there are times when I can enjoy watching a television series more than a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I am an absolute movie addict: that will never change. But the television series that are being made in this day and age are sometimes better than a movie. For one thing it can develop characters better (as there are more episodes to explore a character’s motives). And as it takes longer, you can enjoy something even more than a movie, especially if it is a series that does things right. And with the budgets on tv series being almost as big as there big budget counterparts, the scale of certain shows is at times just off the charts. So following are 5 shows that I am looking forward to the most  for next year.

Voice (Korean drama series)

Korean drama series are fantastic. Just as in anime, there are so many series that you can choose from, ranging from romance, to historical drama, to action, there is a show out there for everyone. Voice is a series that will be released early next year, and promises to deliver a really good thriller. So far only small teasers have been released, but they already show the tense and gritty atmosphere of the series. Voice will deal with two detectives on the hunt for a brutal serial killer. The lives of the families of an emergency call center team are being threatened by this killer, and so the countdown is on to find him before it’s too late. I really enjoy movies about serial killers, and this one looks like it might take on the likes of films such as Seven and Silence of the Lambs.

 

Attack on Titan: season 2

Do I really need to explain what there is to be excited about for this one? Attack on Titan has become a juggernaut in the world of Anime and it is just simply put an amazing and exciting series. Fans have been waiting for ages for the release of season 2, and finally we now have confirmation that we will be able to see it next year in april. I usually watch shows after they have completed a full season, but I already know that I will make an exception for this one. The wait has been long enough. All I can say is that no matter his much I looking forward to this one, there is always this slight sense of unease that it might not be as good as season 1. With so many time to prepare for it though, I hope the creators have done their best to create an even better experience this time around.

 

24: Legacy

Before the Walking Dead became my number 1 alltime favorite tv series, there was 24. The realtime television series featuring Kiefer Sutherland as the hero Jack Bauer, has been a rollercoaster ride throughout it’s 9 seasons. Part of what made the show so exciting was Jack Bauer, the seemingly immortal but also very tragic anti-hero, that will always remain my favorite television character. (Not even the Walking Dead will change that). Next year 24 returns, but this time without Jack Bauer. One really has to wonder about the wisdom of that decision. Still, having seen the trailer of the new series, I do have to admit it looks good, and there are also some very good actors involved. Therefore I will give it a chance and keeping my fingers crossed that 24 will be able to live on without Jack Bauer.

 

Stranger Things: Season 2

Stranger Things was for me personally the best television series of 2016. It was a love letter to everything that I enjoyed about the 80’s. The music, the characters, the storyline, everything in this Netflix original series was just simply put: perfect. It has been a huge succes and therefore it came as no surprise the series would get a second season. With a series that was this good, one really has to wonder if they are able to maintain that high level for the second season. Whatever the case might be, I really can’t wait for this series to return. When it does I am seriously going to bingewatch it in one day. So far the only trailer that has been released for it, has in a truly original way, given us all the episode names for the second season.

 

Prisonbreak: Sequel

Prisonbreak ended it’s run after four seasons in a very satisfying way, and with what I found to be a touching and fitting end. Some people thought that the show went on too long, and getting more unbelievable with every season that followed. I personally loved it, even it’s fourth and final season. When I heard about the fact that the series would not only return, but also would feature a character who everyone believed to be dead, I could not help but wonder: How and why? Whatever the case, after having seen the first trailer for the new season, I found myself getting excited for it regardless. Prisonbreak has always been a personal favorite of mine, so hopefully this short follow up will do it justice.

So there you have it. The shows that I am looking forward to the most for next year. Are any of these shows that appear here on your list? Are there any other things you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, thank you for reading!

Erased, Anime tv series (2016)

What if I asked you the question: “Would you like to go back and relive your childhood,  if you were able to?” I think everyone would probably have a different reason to maybe go back, while others would not go back at all. For myself, the answer would maybe surprise you, as I would answer with no. One of the main reasons my answer is no, is that especially in the early schoolyears I got bullied…a lot. So I don’t really have particular fond memories of those days. One of the things that helped me get through all that, were my parents. I am really, really blessed with them, and on that front I really have no complaints whatsoever. As I grew older, things definitely improved, and I have enough happy memories to look back on. Hmm, why this pretty dark and sad opening you might wonder? Well, the Anime series Erased also deals with childhood, but treads the path of something even more terrible than bullying.

Satoru Fujinuma is a 29 year old Manga artist, who has trouble getting the right things on paper. However, he also has a very unique and special power: travelling back short periods in time to prevent death and other tragedies from happening. One day Satoru becomes the suspect of a terrible crime of which he is innocent, but while escaping from the police, his power activates and he is sent back farther in time than ever before. When he wakes up he discovers that he is 10 years old again, but his memories are still those of his 29 year old self. When heading to his high school he meets up with his old classmates including a girl called Kayo. Satoru remembers that Kayo is heading for a very sad and terrible fate, and now he has a chance to maybe change it all in this new timeline. But things become more complicated as he finds out that Kayo’s fate might be tied to his own in the future…

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Erased is simply put:a masterpiece. It is almost impossible to mention everything that is great about it, but here are some highlights. People who say that animation is just for kids, will hopefully be silent after seeing this series. One of the subject matters the show deals with is child abuse, and it doesn’t shy away from it either. There were some truly heartbreaking scenes that were at times very hard to watch, but made the story all the more powerful because of it. The story was put together in a very clever way, and is maybe best described as The Butterfly Effect, meets Groundhog Day, with a small blend of the Orange anime series added for effect. Even though the series runs for only 12 episodes you feel an attachment to the characters, that you at times don’t even get from series that have a longer run. Ultimately though, despite the heavy subject matter, what it comes down to is that nobody needs to do things alone. Treasure friends that you have, and be grateful that you have them. Don’t despair though and think that you might need therapy after watching this. Yes there is a lot of heavy stuff going on, but it is also a wonderful, exiting and heartwarming tale, that I dare you to not finish in one run. It really is that good.

Before I give the final grade (which probably won’t be much of a surprise) I want to thank AnnmarieMCQueen for pointing out this gem. She is an up and coming blogger who has a lot different and cool things going on at her blog, so it is worth checking it out, if you haven’t already.

I give Erased a 10 out of 10 score.

Manhole, Korean movie (2014)

When I watch a movie I pretty much don’t care in what language it is in, as long as I am able to enjoy it. Living in Holland, nearly every movie I watch is (for me) a foreign language film. I can hear the question that is popping up in your head right now: “Aren’t there any Dutch movies?”. Well, yes we do make movies, but unfortunately most of those just fail to impress me. One of the movie industries that lately does impress me a lot, is the Korean film industry. The Koreans just excel at dark revenge and action oriented movies, but another genre they are very good at is thrillers. Netflix seems to realise that the Korean movie is gaining in popularity as well, as a lot of them have recently been added to their movie database. One of those movies is Manhole.

Lately a lot of people have mysteriously gone missing in a neighbourhood in Seoul. A young 14 year old deaf girl called Soo-jung is living together with her older sister Yeon-seo. Yeon-seo always tells her sister to wait for her at home while she is out at work, but Soo-jung never listens and every day she waits for her sister at the busstop. One night Soo-jung disappears and her sister desperately tries to find her. The trail leads her to a dark sewer system, but in her search for her sister she finds more than she expects. A serial killer has turned the tunnels into his playground, and uses manholes to kindnap new victims. Will the two sisters be the next two women to fall prey to the ruthless killer?

I am currently watching a Korean dramaseries called Heartless City (a review will follow in the not too distant future) in which an actor is playing who is very, very impressive. And that is pretty much an understatement. The actors name is Jung Kyung-ho, and in this movie he is playing the pretty disturbing role of the serial killer. Though not as impressive a role as in Heartless City, he still manages to create a truly frightening character. However I was most impressed by the young actress Kim Sae-ron in this movie, who played the role of the deaf sister Soo-jung. Her performance was very convincing to say the least, and this definitely helped to lift the movie to above average. The dark and tense surroundings also helped to instill a creepy atmosphere throughout this movie. This film did occasionally have it’s flaws though. At one point there was a scene in which Yeon-seo, calls out to her deaf sister in desperation, which erm is pretty pointless really as she can’t hear (duh). However, apart from a mishap like this, I enjoyed this movie overall. It was a nice and tense thriller, with very good performances from the cast, and a dark and creepy vibe. As far as serial killer movies go, this one won’t be remembered as a classic, but it is still enjoyable enough to give it a go. If you don’t mind foreign language films or subtitles, and like movies such as Seven or Silence of the Lambs, this one is for you.

I give Manhole a 7 out of 10 score.