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Ship to Busan: A TIFF Review of ‘Project Wolf Hunting’

September 17, 2022Ben MK

When you think of Korean cinema, you might typically think of crime thrillers like Memories of Murder and Oldboy or romantic dramas like Love 911. The zombie-themed smash hit Train to Busan upended all those stereotypes in glorious, brain-eating fashion, however. And now, with Project Wolf Hunting, the Korean horror genre might just have a new crowd-pleaser on its hands, in this gruesome tale of a not-so-routine prisoner transport gone horribly — and bloodily — awry.

Written and directed by Kim Hongsun, the story begins with what appears to be a relatively straightforward mission. Twenty police officers have been tasked with accompanying a group of extremely dangerous convicted criminals, all of whom have recently been extradited from Manilla, Philippines to Busan, Korea. But as they make their way across the China Sea by way of a 58,000 ton freighter named the Frontier Titan, the prisoners use the opportunity to stage a violent coup, seizing control of the ship and killing several of the crew members and cops in the process. Unbeknownst to everyone, there also happens to be something significantly deadlier and more sinister being transported along with them, hidden deep within the bowels of the ship. And when this secret cargo — the product of a genetic experiment conducted on prisoners of war in 1943 — is unleashed, it won't discriminate between the good guys and the bad, as it leaves a trail of blood and guts in its wake.

Unrelentingly violent and unflinchingly brutal, the result isn't for the faint of heart. However, if you like your splatter-fests extra gory and your on-screen dismemberments and disembowelments churned out at a rapid-fire pace, Project Wolf Hunting will certainly float your boat. Suffice to say, this is one of those films where the plot exists solely to serve the action. And if you can accept that, then you're most likely to have a howl.

Project Wolf Hunting screens under the Midnight Madness programme at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 2 min.

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