What's hiding under that tree?

Reviewed by: Alicia Glass
Published on: March 15, 2022 (URL is not
Available on: Netflix
Content release date: 2004-04-12

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

MPAA Rating: N/A

Director: Ki-hyeong Park

Review Rating: 6

A childless Korean couple adopt a strange boy with a penchant for trees and trouble.

So Mom and Dad (which is how I’m referring to them, as I’m terrible with Korean names, whether they be character or real) are fine upstanding citizens, with Mom an artist and Dad a doctor who delivers babies. But they can’t seem to have a baby of their own, so it’s off to the adoption agency, where we find a young boy with artistic talent and a fetish for trees. To their credit, Mom and Dad do their level best to treat Jin-Sung as their son and love him. Grandma, who I think is Mom’s mother, is very unkind to the adopted newcomer, holding onto her antiquated ideals of proper children and bloodlines. Grandpa, the Father on Dad’s side, is much more sympathetic and helps Jin-Sung tend to the dying acacia tree in the backyard. But then, as with standard strange adopted child movies everywhere, Mom finds herself pregnant and soon enough they have their own child, also a boy. And sure enough, things disintegrate.

Now, yes, time for the spoilers. I have to, in order to explain what I don’t understand about this movie. The first half of the film is spent, I guess, establishing mood: the strange new adopted child and his staring, and the long gripping silences that I think are supposed to convey strained emotion. The latter half of the movie explains what actually happened to the adopted child who went missing. Turns out Mom, in some kind of a fit, killed the poor thing and made Dad bury him, and the repression of that night drives them both completely crazy to the point that they kill eachother. With some aid from the fully bloomed acacia tree out back. Alright, I can dig it. (Don’t kill me for my bad puns.) What I don’t quite understand is what drove Mom into the fit where she supposedly accidentally killed Jin-Sung. Post partum depression? Was the acacia tree out back really Jin-Sungs’ mother, lashing out at those who mistreated him? It’s hard to say.

Not really memorable for a horror movie, but fair for suspense.