The Guard Post (2008) - "GP506" original title is for Guard post 506 in the demilitarized zone the "DMZ" in Korea, it is the agreed upon line between the north and the south in their stalemated war from the 1950's. To this day troop man outposts on either side a few hundred yards from one another in a state of vigilance in case the other sides decides the war needs to be finished. This film does not deal with the tension between the two sides of Korea, it is instead an isolated outpost where a virus has gotten in and wreaked havoc on the occupants. The setup is that the guard post has not been heard from long enough that a group of South Korean soldiers are sent in to investigate. When they arrive they find lots of body parts and a man standing with a bloody ax. Shooting him when he fails to respond to calls to lower the weapon his coma makes it hard to piece together what happened there.
It is the job of the investigator played by Ho-jin Cheon to do just that, to figure out through the written reports, journals and the such what happened at the base. When a second survivor is found played by Hyun-jae Cho the story seems to come together, but everything is not quite what it seems. The film is a bit difficult to follow but not impossible, bouncing between two stories without too much notice. First there is the current story of the soldiers checking out the events of the out post. They have significant political pressures from the outside and bureaucratic tension on the inside to contend with so the investigation is not the smoothest thing happening. Our investigator has the scene of the killing disturbed by a doctor who is there to remove the bodies so the higher ups can cover up the massacre. In this part of the story there are more than a dozen characters all in fatigues and helmets. Then when the film flashes back to the original group there are another dozen characters dressed and heads covered the same way. At times it is hard to immediately follow what is going on. Not to say the film is not watchable, it is very much worth the effort of keeping characters straight.
The story unfolds in the past with the three soldiers who go out for a hike and come back ill. They develop rashes and then their behavior becomes erratic and violent. When it leads to death and then the virus spreads to the other men in the company it gets more complicated. The company leader is a government big wig's son. He has been taught by his political Father never to admit a problem but to cover it up and deal with it internally. So instead of getting help the group is isolated and as more men get sick and violent the situation gets out of control. The film does a good job early in this story making the problem seem possibly supernatural. The trance like behavior of the infected men is eerie and the violence shocking in its sudden and brutal nature.
In the present the second survivor says he is the commander and there is some intrigue when it appears he in the present is still trying to destroy documentation that will tell the full story. When the men of the present day group start coming down with the same sickness, it is a race to try to get to the bottom of the viral outbreak. The underground of the guard post is a labyrinth of corridors and rooms and so there is lots of isolation of the soldiers which lets the virus spread undetected for some time. Add to that a land slide on the road out and the place is physically cut off. As the spread of the virus happens in the present we keep having flashbacks to the past taking that story line further along also. There is a twist that although not giant was good enough to make things interesting. The two stories past and present develop at the same pace so like I said earlier it can be confusing if you are not paying attention.
Now you have to be willing to read subtitles for this film but I think it is very worth it. It is a mystery with scary scenes and violence and towards the end great tension. The outcome is probably inevitable but still getting there is a well told story. What would you do if you know everyone in your group is infected with a violence hallucination creating virus? I am sure that you will do a similar thing to what happens in the climax of this film as one character is trying to get out while another thinks they should stay. I liked this film it is tense enough and interesting all the way through. So yes I am going to recommend this film it was very enjoyable. Available for free on Amazon Prime instant video.
Rating (6.2) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than others