The Japanese are known for their exciting and scary horror films. The Grudge and The Ring are still great films that can make a spine tingle within the first few minutes. The movies are often frightening and more of a mental scare than a blood fest. But what of the Korean's?
Korea isn’t necessarily a horror film mecca by any stretch, but the new Blu-ray I Saw The Devil is hoping to change that. The film opened in select theatres in North America this year to mixed reactions for its obscene violence and torture scenes. But if that’s not enough, the actual uncut version of the film is what we’ve been issued on disc, with all the guts, glory and blood originally intended.
The grotesquely obsessive film was directed by Asian cult film maker Kim Ji-woon, who is expected to make is US debut in the next year or so. Much to my distaste for the extreme violence and torture in the movie, I was captivated by Choi Min-sik’s portrayal as the cannibal Kyung-chul, watching until the end – two hours and twenty minutes and many murders later. Kim did a great job creating a visually beautiful picture which was obviously crafted with much detail and care.
Kyung-chul is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. On a freezing, snowy night, his latest victim is the beautiful Juyeon, daughter of a retired police chief and pregnant fiancée of elite special agent Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun). Obsessed with revenge, Soo-hyun is determined to track down the murderer, even if doing so means becoming a monster himself. And when he finds Kyung-chul, turning him in to the authorities is the last thing on his mind, as the lines between good and evil fall away in this diabolically twisted game of cat and mouse.
For all the disgusting moments in the film, it’s Lee Byung-hun who we feel for. His quest for revenge is so strong that nothing else matters – not even Kyung-chul own death.
If I Saw The Devil is any indication of what’s to come from Kim Ji-woon’s US film debut, we’re in for a treat. He’s made blood, guts, torture and pain something devilishly addictive.