The Korea Herald


[Herald Review] Not your everyday comedy, 'Handsome Guys' boasts unique blend of genres

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : June 17, 2024 - 15:47

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"Handsome Guys," starring Lee Sung-min (Hive Media)

In a saturated content landscape, it is difficult to find something fresh and innovative. Yet, "Handsome Guys" manages to stand out by blending genres, providing viewers with an unprecedented viewing experience.

"Handsome Guys" tells the story of Jae-pil (played by Lee Sung-min) and his friend Sang-gu (played by Lee Hee-jun), two well-meaning carpenters who relocate dreaming of a peaceful suburban life, but are constantly mistaken for troublemakers due to their intimidating appearances.

Events spiral out of control when a group of college students stumble upon the two friends' house and unwittingly trigger the awakening of an evil spirit sealed away in its basement.

The plot, in summary, can be overwhelming. However, by combining multiple genres such as comedy, slasher, occult and even romance, "Handsome Guys" offers a unique viewing experience by promptly defying genre cliches and sequencing events unexpectedly from the film's exposition to denouement.

Some may fear that blending so many genres could result in a chaotic and disjointed film, but comedy firmly anchors "Handsome Guys," ensuring the audience can enjoy lighthearted moments without feeling overwhelmed.

"Handsome Guys," starring Lee Hee-jun (left) and Lee Sung-min (Hive Media)

As a remake of the hit Canadian slasher comedy "Tucker and Dale vs Evil" (2010), "Handsome Guys" serves as an adequate example of adapting an overseas film to suit the Korean audience's preferences.

While capitalizing on the original film's well-received points such as seamlessly transitioning between genres, "Handsome Guys" has also successfully incorporated Korean aspects into the film to enhance audience engagement. Such aspects include characters who struggle due to their lack of proficiency in English and surprise cameo appearances by well-known Korean figures, which incite bursts of laughter from the Korean audience.

Also, the seasoned performances by Lee Sung-min and Lee Hee-jun engage the audience in the film's narrative.

The storyline, which may appear overwhelming and perhaps slightly contrived, unfolds organically thanks to the convincing portrayals by both actors. The chemistry between Lee Sung-min and Lee Hee-jun, recognized for their solemn roles in "The Man Standing Next" (2020) as President Park Chung-hee and his chief presidential security officer, respectively, now sparkles with a charming, lighthearted quality that brings smiles to viewers' faces.

Yet, "Handsome Guys" also includes several violent scenes depicting gruesome murders, which may deter viewers who anticipate a lighthearted comedy. For those unaccustomed to gore and splatter films, "Handsome Guys" could be somewhat overwhelming.

"Handsome Guys" will hit local theaters on June 26.