Film Review: The Red Shoes
It helps to know going in that this film is based upon a gruesome Hans Christian Anderson tale in which a little orphan girl becomes obsessed with a pair of cursed red shoes that have a mind of their own. When the shoes become fused to her feet and won't stop dancing, the little girl goes to the executioner to have her feet amputated, and the shoes dance off on their own with her feet still in them.
In this modern horror thriller interpretation written and directed in 2005 by Young-gyun Kim, the story centers around Sun-jae, a successful young eye doctor whose seemingly idyllic married life begins to come unhinged when she discovers that her husband is having an affair. While starting a new life with her young daughter in a squalid apartment, Sun-jae finds a pair of lovely-but-cursed red shoes in the portico of a subway train. Sun-jae has a ‘thing' for shoes, and the found pair is a nice addition to her collection until she begins to realize that everyone in her life, including her six-year-old daughter, an aspiring ballerina, covets the red shoes.
In the midst of her shoe dilemma, Sun-jae becomes involved in a romantic relationship with Cho In-chul, an artist she hired as an interior designer for her new optical office, and as the red shoes cause her life to spin out of control, Cho plays detective to help her unravel the mystery. What he discovers is that Sun-jae isn't the only one whose life has been cursed by the rosy pumps. They have a sinister history that dates all the way back to World War II, as two rival ballerinas compete for the affections of the same powerful man.
Known in Korean as Bunhongsin, The Red Shoes stars Hye-su Kim, Seong-su Kim, and Yeon-ah Park, and although it didn't win any awards, it enjoyed a measure of success and praise on the international film festival circuit. The Red Shoes is a stylish and engaging mystery that alternates between its dual plots, yet remains true to its ‘buckets-of-blood' genre. So if it's a classic horror thriller you crave, The Red Shoes is sure to please.