Review: How Do I Kill that B? (Queer East Film Festival)

Written and directed by Seo Ji-Hwan, Ha-Yoon works as a maid in a luxurious mansion, and is not too fond of a new employee, Ji-Young. When a forest hunting game is proposed by the mansion owner, the tense relationship between the two maids reaches an extreme level. Starring: Ha Yoon-kyung, Bang Hyo-rin and Song Cheol-ho.

From start to finish How Do I Kill that B? feels like it’s throwing back to countless modern classics of cinema from Park Chan-wook to Rian Johnson to Bong Joon-ho to Yorgos Lanthimos. It creates a murder mystery feel, one that’s curious and playful, especially being topped with a score that adds an adventure tone. The writing has a fantastic sense of humour, it blends into the whole film but never takes over, allowing the film to hold onto its sincerity and suspense. It’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek and used perfectly to accent key moments of the film. The pacing and progression are great, coming in at just over twenty five minutes, it’s on the lengthier side for a short film but doesn’t feel it at all. If anything, you’ll wish this was only part one.

Seo Ji-Hwan’s directorial style matches the tone of the writing expertly and creates a brilliant aesthetic without ever pushing too hard. It was a great choice to not try and stylise the film too much, keeping a style that’s more akin to a drama which allows the film to move with an excellent confidence. It’s got a wonderful natural colour coming off that forest setting, which is a superbly well chosen location, giving the film all sorts of twisting and dark possibilities, even though the tone itself always holds onto an entertaining lightness.

Going back to how the film throws to great auteurs of modern cinema, each performance in How Do I Kill that B? feels like it’s been pulled from a Chan-wook film. The tone each of them strike is sharp, biting and intelligent, each of the leading characters all feel like they have cards up their sleeve they haven’t played yet. Creating those layers that enhance the mystery of the story. Even Ha Yoon-kyung’s leading, grounded performance has that air of possibility, she feels logical and reasonable but has the twinkle of unpredictability.

How Do I Kill that B? is fun and hugely enjoyable with a stunningly satisfying dark side. It’s filled with a phenomenal cast who could all fit perfectly in a twisted drama feature. The direction and cinematography are excellent, the aesthetic is colourful and striking. The writing is equally good, creating a story that has a few surprises in store and is really entertaining to watch unfold.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯½ | 9/10

Reviewed as part of Queer East Film Festival 2023

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