April 3, 2013

Children... (2011)

(aka WTF Happened to the Frog Boys!?!)
Release Date: 2011, South Korea.
Country: South Korea.
Written by: Kyu-maan Lee and Hyeon-jin Lee.
Directed by: Kyu-maan Lee.
Starring:  Yong-woo Park, Seung-yong Ryoo and Dong-il Song.

Children... is one of those "based on a true story" flicks, that tells the tale of a horrible South Korean crime, that has to this day still not be solved.

Knowing that fact might prompt the average viewer to say "Well what the hell? Why would I watch a movie like that if I'm not going to find out what happens at the end?" That's a good point, but despite the real life case never having been solved, and maybe even because of that fact, Children... is a more than worthwhile watch.

The film attempts to give the story of the Frog Boys an ending, albeit a movie ending, which is at least good for us as an audience; the movie at least attempts to leave us a bit satisfied, unlike all of those involved in the real-life case, none of whom have received much satisfaction at all.

I'm getting ahead of myself here though, so lets get on with the details...

Children... begins innocently enough, on March 26th, 1991; It's election day in the Daegu region of South Korea, and while the adults are all out and about and focused on voting, five local boys set off to a nearby mountain to catch frogs.

When the boys don't return home, their parents become worried, and a massive search mission is organized to find the missing boys. As many as 300,000 Police are sent from all over S.Korea to search Mt. Waryong to the tune of 500+ times for the children, but to no avail. Obviously, the village is left decimated in the wake of such a horrible tragedy, none more so than the parents of the missing kids.

A TV Producer and a distinguished Professor start digging into the case, and thus become obsessed with finding out what happened to the boys. Their actions seem to do more harm than good though, both to themselves and the parents of the missing children, and with their efforts yielding no results, the case goes cold...

... until 11 years later when the bodies of the boys are finally found! At first, their parents are told that the boys died of exposure, which they know is total B.S., because they had clearly had their heads caved in with a hammer or something, not to mention that the bodies weren't even there the other 500+ times the area was searched, so someone had to have dumped them there after the fact.

Heartbreak, lies, hidden truths, incompetence, obsessions and one creepy-ass showdown ensue.

South Korea is most depressing Korea.
Children... is a compelling mystery that is heavy on emotion, but short on closure. Being that the movie tells the story of a real case that was never solved, its real-world connection only serves to make the material all the more compelling and haunting.

Like other South Korean Mysteries and Thrillers such as Memories of Murder, Children... weaves a complex tapestry of mystery, dread and overbearing emotion, and in the end it leaves you feeling spent, and more than contemplative. What I'm trying to say here is that this movie will stick with you long after the credits have rolled, and that's no mean feat these days.

This movie is just further proof that South Korean filmmakers know how to make an effective Thriller like no other.

Haunting is an understatement.
After becoming so emotionally invested in the "case of the frog boys," we would really like to know the truth behind what actually happened to them. Even more so, we'd like to know that the grieving parents have found some sort of comfort in finally getting the answers to the questions that continue to haunt them to this day.

Children... at least tries to give its audience and ending, which works well within the confines of the film itself, but in reality is no more than complete fiction. We really, really want to know the truth of the matter.

Fiction or not, the whole quasi-resolution thing was pretty damned effective.
This really wasn't our normal fun, inappropriate joke-filled review, but it's hard to be overtly humorous when talking about this movie. Children... is a captivating piece of work that left me genuinely feeling for the parents of these poor kids, whom have never seen one bit of justice come of their children's murders. It's not particularly bloody or action packed, but what Children... lacks in visceral payoff, it more than makes up for in emotional devastation.

See this movie if you get the chance, it's definitely a good (if depressing) one.


I really hope that someday we'll learn the truth behind what happened to the frog boys, and that their killer will finally be brought to justice.


  1. This was a really emotionally gripping movie. It's not the type of horror to send shocks through your body but real horror which could easily put your life and soul into the pits of living hell.

  2. The killer(s) can no longer be brought to justice as the statute of limitations for murder in S Korea has expired.