I am a huge fan of short films, so much so that for my birthday this year I threw a miniature film festival for 5 of my closest friends. The theme was that every film was a short film. I literally spend vast chunks of my time seeking out these gems, if you are wondering why it is because at under twenty minutes and with a limited budget and no massive studio interference these films tend to be the purest form of cinema anyone can create. At least that is how I view it. So when I discovered that the criminally underrated Lyrica Okano was featuring in Koreatown Ghost Story well this became a project I was just utterly enthralled by.
The film sees Hannah (Lyrica Okano) visit an old family friend Mrs. Moon – played by Margaret Cho. While at the home of Mrs. Moon, Hannah is made an offer that anyone in this struggling world would be hard-pressed to refuse. What follows next is utter terror. Now when I say terror, I mean old-school suspense-driven terror. Writer and Director pair Minsun Park and Teddy Tenenbaum do not rely on gore or cheap jump scares to get their point across, instead, they build to the scares and let them happen organically, further enhancing them with a set that in a heartbeat goes from cozy and comforting to atmospheric and anxiety-inducing.
Both Lyrica Okano and Margaret Cho bring so much to this film. Lyrica brings the same quiet yet defiant energy she showed us in Runaways while Margaret Cho is a terrifying mix of Kathy Bates in Misery and every overbearing mother to have ever existed.
And it is not just me who loves this film Koreatown Ghost Story is kicking ass and taking names at every festival it goes to. Currently, it has 63 wins and a further 25 nominations behind it. As someone who just loves all things cinema, I really hope to either see more of this or just more from Minsun Park and Teddy Tenenbaum. Simply put we need more unique tales like this.