Directed by Sang-chan Kim
"Addiction Karaoke" is run by Sung-Wook. When business is slow, he hires singing helper Ha-Suck, a girl in her early 20s. She's a hopeless game addict, but somehow lures customers in. Na-Ju joins the crew and brightens up the miserable place with her bubbly character. Just when everything starts turning for the better, little do they know that a serial killer on the loose in town is after something in the karaoke.
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★★★★ review by bree1981 on Letterboxd
Frightfest 2016 Film # 10
I only really went to see this film because there was nothing else on in the slot that I fancied seeing and I knew very little about it but it ended up being one of my favourite films from the weekend. That's half the fun of a festival like this, seeing something that you otherwise wouldn't bother with and discovering a hidden gem.
A Korean film set around what can loosely be described as a Karaoke Club, a place open late where drunks falling out of clubs can hire a booth and sing their hearts out. The problem with Addiction Karaoke is that it sit's on the edge of town and doesn't get much passing trade, with business in a rut depressed, porn addicted owner Sung-Wook (Moon-Sik Lee) decides to hire a live-in hostess, enter Ha-Suck (Bae So-eun), an equally depressed young woman with no social skills and the icing on the cake is, she can't even hold a tune. Sung-Wook hires her regardless and before long the pair manage to turn business around no doubt in part due to Ha-Suck offering clients sexual favours. As his fortunes pick up Sung-Wook brings in more staff, a deaf-mute cleaner and another hostess, this time one who can actually sing (Na-Ju played by Kim Na-Mi who is a ball of kinetic energy and the total opposite of the rest of the characters) and they form a sort of dysfunctional family unit of damaged and lost souls but with a serial killer stalking the area it won't be long before everything comes crashing down.
This is a really strange film to categorize, although it tackles some really dark themes, for the most part it's a feel good film about characters with harrowing past's who are drifting through life until they find something to live for in each other. It's full of heart, humour, great performances and misfit characters you can invest in. I'm not sure if this film will receive any sort of wide release but if you get the chance to take a punt on it I don't think you will regret it.
★★★★ review by Ghostsmut on Letterboxd
Karaoke, serial killers, blowjobs, porn and violent loss of family members. Karaoke Crazies is a glorious jumble of themes and weirdo characters that are thrown together helping out running a karaoke bar. In turns, funny, explicit, dark and shocking I enjoyed it thoroughly.
A highlight of the festival for me.
★★★★ review by Kevin Matthews on Letterboxd
Lee Moon-Sik plays Sung Wook, an owner of a karaoke bar that isn’t exactly doing great business. The bills keep coming in, but the customers don’t. He needs to hire a helper, a pretty girl who will sing along with the customers and convince them to spend more money. And that’s how he ends up with the strange and quiet Ha-Suck (Bae So-eun). She doesn’t seem very good, initially, but after a conversation about the needs of the business it looks like she has figured out a way to keep customers happy and wanting to come back. It’s just not a traditional way. Then along comes the beautiful and upbeat Na-Ju (Kim Na-Mi), ready to take the business up and up, although she’s not sure if she can make a go of things when she realises how Ha-Suck has been keeping herself busy.
Karaoke Crazies unfolds almost as you think it would. It’s quirky, amusing, dark, and contains plenty of bad singing. But, thanks to four fantastic central performances (Bang Jun-Ho makes up the quartet, playing a deaf mute who takes a liking to the bar), it’s also surprisingly sweet, and even slightly moving at times.
The direction from Kim Sang-chan is fairly straightforward, yet it’s also spot on when it comes to just how far to push things and how tasteful, or even tasteless, to make certain scenes. This is helped by the script from Park Ji-Hong, which gives every character plenty of flaws while also ensuring that they have enough goodness on display, or just hinted at, to make their journey together an engrossing and rewarding one.
The first third of the film may feel like it belongs to Moon-Sik and So-eun, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but Na-Mi makes a strong impression from her very first scenes. The fact that she doesn’t walk away with the entire film is largely down to her performance, but also more proof of the strength in the direction and writing.
It may have benefited from a few minutes trimmed here and there, especially as things become more predictable in the final act, but I say that while also happily admitting that I could have spent another hour or so in the company of these karaoke crazies. And I hope others agree.
★★★½ review by Sean Kelly on Letterboxd
Karaoke Crazies is for the most part a very lighthearted film that isn't really meant to be taken all that seriously. While the film does feature some darker content later on, the plot of Karaoke Crazies isn't particularly that deep and the film as a whole is mostly a lark. In fact the serial killer plot, which is the source of the bulk of the conflict, seems somewhat shoehorned into the story. However, Karaoke Crazies is still a breezy watch.
★★★½ review by CaliGula on Letterboxd
People of the basement and their reason not to face the light. More theatrical than mainstream, a-la Bertolt Brecht; oddball behind closed doors with one standout performance from Kim Na-Mi. Interesting she doesn't seem to have pursued a career although amid the good acting, she was the main entertainer.
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