January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Do-il (Kim Jin-geun) and his wife Mi-sook (Shim Hye-jin) have been married for a decade, creating a secure and happy lifestyle. While their lives seem to be satisfying, the couple longs to have a child, but they’ve been unable to make that happen. But while a child of their own isn’t possible, adoption is an option and the two decide to go that route. Mi-sook is against the idea at first, but she soon agrees, as both Do-il and his father insist on the adoption, to ensure family growth. One child quickly captures Mi-sook’s attention, a child named Jin-sung (Moon Woo-bin) who creates unusual artwork. Mi-sook instantly connects with the child somewhat, as his artwork speaks to her and makes her want to know the child. But once the child arrives at his new home, he spends more time away from his new family, choosing to spend time in trees instead. When Mi-sook finds herself pregnant, Jin-sing turns bitter and resentful. After one fight with his new parents, he vanishes and inside the home, a chain of violent, strange events begin to unfold…

The world of horror cinema has been on the brink of extinction, thanks to a couple years of mediocre movies and lackluster profits. But a spark has pumped new lifeblood into the genre, the spark of Asian cinema. As word of mouth spread about the eerie chiller The Ring, someone in Hollywood must have been paying attention, as an American remake soon followed. The American version of The Ring was a smash success and in its wake, we’ve seen several other Asian films remade for American audiences. Myself, I’d rather see the original movies and that’s why Tartan’s Asia Extreme line is so damn great. I found Acacia to be a great addition to the line, as it focuses on atmosphere, as opposed to cheap scares. If you need constant jump scares, you’re out of luck here, as this a low key, suspense driven chiller. I found the understated approach to be a success, as I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen, even for a second. Tartan has supplied another great disc too, so I am able to offer up a most high recommendation for Acacia.

Video: How does it look?

Acacia is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The print used is in perfect condition, with no grain, debris, or marks to be seen, a stunning start, to be sure. The film uses a bland color spectrum, so don’t expect bright, vivid hues in all scenes. But the colors are presented as intended and that is what counts, as the visual design is upheld. Just as impressive is the contrast, which supplies well balanced black levels and accurate detail throughout. This is simply a stunning transfer and of course, fans will be nothing short of thrilled with this treatment.

Audio: How does it sound?

A movie doesn’t need explosions, shootouts, or car chases to provide a dynamic audio experience, a fact proven by this release. The included Dolby Digital and DTS options take the material’s eerie, tense presence and creates a terrific soundtrack. As if the suspense wasn’t intense enough, the audio here cranks up the tension a few more notches. A poor soundtrack could have brought down the experience, but both options here sound excellent and make full use of the film’s audio potential. The music is superb in this film and as expected, is given much life in these treatments. No dialogue issues either, as the vocals have a clean and crisp sound, even if you have no idea what is being said. This disc also includes subtitles in English and Spanish, just in case you’re a bit rusty with your Korean.

Supplements: What are the extras?

An audio commentary features the director, one of the producers, and the actor who plays the adoptive father, and is well worth a listen. The evolution of the storyline is discussed, as in what was changed over time and some of the original ideas are revealed. I found that to be highly interesting, as it gives you an idea of what might have been. The first stretch has a more technical focus, but for the second half of the movie, the tone is lighter and turns more toward stories from the production. This disc also includes about half an hour of featurettes and cast interviews, which are all worth a quick look.

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