Sector 7 (2011) Review – Or: Tentacle Monster? Must Be Asian Cinema!

Sector 7 has the same type of plot that launched a thousand B-movies: a random assortment of cannon-fodder characters are gathered in an isolated location, things best left undisturbed are unsurprisingly awakened and monster-related workplace injuries ensue. The workplace in question is an offshore oil rig codenamed Sector 7, where tensions are running high because of a distinct lack of flowing oil.

In one of the movies silliest sequences, some of the bored workers take to staging motorcycle races around the rig’s superstructure, which certainly violates just about every safety regulation that has ever existed anywhere. Sensitive equipment, sudden drop offs into the freezing waters and abundant explosive substances… what’s the worst thing that could happen?

Sector 7 Picture
Whoops. My bad.

It isn’t long before main character Hae-jun’s uncle shows up with promises of untapped new sources of energy deep on the ocean floor. He fills the heads of the rig’s workers with visions of a new fuel source that burns longer and stronger than oil. There’s a catch: the fuel comes in the form of the bodily secretions of a heretofore unknown sea creature. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I get cranky when some silly humans try to harvest my bodily fluids. Nobody’s getting anywhere near any of my orifices with their anal probes! Never again! (Crap, I typed that out loud, didn’t I?)

Sector 7 Picture
On second thought, we didn’t really need that anal swab…

A specimen of the creature dredged up from the darkness of 8,000 fathoms deep soon escapes captivity and starts seeing the scampering oil workers as an all-you-can-eat buffet. What follows is a mostly predictable exercise. Lots of point-of-view shots from the creature’s perspective, lots or running around in long corridors while screaming… Sector 7 is a superb example of the genre, but the over abundance of clichés shows through the cracks.

Another minor annoyance is a growing pet peeve of mine when it comes to movies shot in 3-D: the director’s overwhelming need to shove things in the viewer’s face. While these shots might work in a 3-D-friendly environment like a movie theater, but at home, without the benefit of the technology, it constantly looks as if the characters want to show off whatever long object they happen to be holding in their hands.

Sector 7 Picture

Much like the wave of horror movies shot in 3-D from the 1980s (Jaws 3D, Friday the 13th Part 3D), in a few years, when the current craze has passed, these shots will not have aged gracefully and their inherent silliness will be even more distracting.

Nonetheless, one element of the story that actually does benefit from 3-D is the creature’s prehensile, forked tongue, which does most of the killing. Director Ji-hun Kim wisely reserves some choice 3-D shots just to creep audiences out when the thing’s tongue probes a room for signs of our heroes. One particularly memorable elevator segment, with the survivors hugging the walls to avoid the whip-like tongue, elicits both laughs and frights.

Acting throughout Sector 7 is all over the place. Sung-kee Ahn, as the aforementioned Uncle, gives a really decent performance, especially when he goes all out in his vendetta against the creature late in the game. Ji-ho Oh, as the lone female protagonist, is an especially screechy presence. The script makes her out to be a tough oil-working chick, but she has the screaming voice of Banshee-possessed cat channeling the spirit of a million female Twilight fans spotting Robert Pattinson staring off into the ether. Can you say… SQUEEEEEEEEAL!?

Sector 7 Picture
Will! You! Please! Shut the fuck up!?

The Verdict [rating:3.5]

Sector 7 has chills, thrills, and a relatively ingenious new creature to add to the pantheon of movie monsters. It won’t win points for originality, either in its script or in its choice of scares, but if you’re in the mood for a fun, check your brain at the door, running through corridors horror movie, you could do a hell of a lot worse than Sector 7.

Your faithful reviewer,


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