September 28, 2023

If You Liked That, You’ll Love This: Memories of Murder (2003)

Let’s face it, a metanarrative sequel that uses a fictional film as the basis of its own plotline? There’s only one movie that hits all of the high marks of what The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) aimed for–Scream (1996). But that’s well-trodden territory here on Now Playing, so I wanted to dig a little deeper. At its core, The Town That Dreaded Sundown sequel is a whodunit. Amateur investigators follow a string of murders around a small town, looking for clues and running from the murderer at the same time.

You know what movie is an amazing whodunit? Bong Joon-ho’s 2003 thriller, Memories of Murder. From the director who put out the Best Picture winner, Parasite, Memories of Murder is a slow, gruesome murder mystery. We follow a few small-town police detectives as they’re confronted with grisly murder after grisly murder, sifting through confounding clues and stubborn witnesses. Our protagonists are clearly out of their depths, but through some of their bumbling shenanigans, we end up rooting for them, hoping they can end the slaughter of innocents in rural Korea.

So if you enjoyed trying to piece together the mysteries of The Town That Dreaded Sundown, and you’re up for trying a murder-mystery from one of South Korea’s best filmmakers, then I can’t suggest Memories of Murder strongly enough. Sure, not all of the themes and tones of The Town That Dreaded Sundown may be present, but at their core, these two movies are both violent whodunits that pit terrifying serial killers against under-prepared investigators. You should like them both.

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