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‘Lingering’ review: South Korean horror provides different kind of scares

Hotel Lake is a different kind of scary.

Shudder has proven to be a home for some great horror movies from other countries. Lingering is a South Korean entry coming to the network on November 12. Yoo-mi is taking her younger sister to see a friend of their mother’s. The hotel they are going to meet at is vacant for the next month. When bizarre things begin to happen, Yoo-mi is pulled into a world she never knew existed.

Lingering moves at a rapid pace initially. The movie wastes no time jumping into the unexplained. Odd sightings and jump scares occur within minutes of the mysterious cold open. This does not mean the movie does not develop its characters, however. While calling them fleshed out may not be entirely accurate, they do advance one of the main themes of Lingering. In an interesting change, these characters avoid facing their problems.

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Horror movies are filled with characters who refuse to accept what is clearly happening. Lingering goes beyond that. These are people who are actively avoiding life’s difficulties. From an inability to be cordial to others to alcoholism, the characters try their best to avoid dealing with life. There is a  comfort to their actions that similar movies do not provide.

It is a refreshing take that adds to the standard horror movie elements of the film. Lingering is content to play in that familiar box since it has strong characterizations that can push the film past being another typical scary movie. There is a strong sense of loneliness and that is more frightening than any scare tactic.

Things stumble a little towards the end. After spending so much time on providing a different kind of terror, Lingering gives audiences a tragically delusional villain. It works to an extent, but seems rushed in the context of the entire movie. Overall, Lingering is a strong horror movie from South Korea. The plot deals with loneliness and acceptance in ways not normally seen in the genre. The characters are not especially deep but make up for that by being well written. The movie provides scares on different levels and will satisfy all horror fans.

Lingering premieres on Shudder November 12.

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