Barking Dogs Never Bite ★★★

2019: The Pieper Review -- Film #532 (11/9/2019)

Bong Joon-ho's first and "worst," Barking Dogs Never Bite is a macabre apartment drama that bears all of the stamps that define the Korean master as a filmmaker. For starters, the movie features a steady stream of dark humor. Bong's social-political awareness is also on full display - an impressive feat for a first-time director. Additionally, the abrupt but successful shifts in tone that he would go on to master in Parasite are also present. And of course, the twists on traditional genre elements also consistently come into play. Beyond that, there are little details like nosebleeds and fumigation that have shown up a few times in his other films that make their first appearances here. Despite the fact that the film says in its opening credits that no animals were harmed in its making, I find it difficult to believe that the dog actors in this movie were not made to feel at least a little uncomfortable and slightly harmed throughout the making. I would be lying if that didn't weigh on me a little while watching this. Ultimately, I would not recommend this to animal lovers, but I would recommend it to anybody who loves seeing where great directors get their start. This movie is laced with the excitement that only a master can imbue a debut project with.