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In the mood for a Korean homage to Alien set on an oil rig? I hope so, because Sector 7 makes for a dandy monster matinee—plenty of thrills, a kick-ass female lead (Ji-won Ha), and an imaginative creature that takes a pounding and keeps on hounding.

A small crew on an oil rig off the coast of South Korea is menaced by a bloodthirsty beast from below. Resembling a slimy hybrid of giant crocodile and a pit bull with tentacles, the monster grows, regenerates, and catches fire easily since its blood is flammable. But damn, if it ain’t resilient! Hottie heroine Cha Hae-joon (Ha) hits the thing with everything but the good china and it just…keeps…coming.

Sector 7‘s nods to Alien are numerous and easily spotted: the sweaty, gritty industrial sets; a monster that begins its life as a tiny specimen and quickly grows to er, monstrous proportions; a representative from the oil company (Seong-gi Ahn, the Korean Robert Forster) with a secret agenda; and finally, one of the two women crew members proves to be the toughest and most resourceful character in the movie.

The creature and gore effects are outstanding, and director Ji-hoon Kim is a gifted visual stylist, utilizing an arsenal of nimble camerawork, fast, tight frames, and even imparting a knowing sense of cosmic wonder and whimsy into the action, not unlike Guillermo del Toro. Between Sector 7 and 2006’s The Host, South Korea might slowly be revealing itself as a promising player in the import horror market.

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