I SAW THE DEVIL
Cast Members of Note- Byung-hun Lee and Min-sik Choi.
What's it About?- Kyung is a creepy bastard. He like to rape and murder women (and maybe men or dogs for all we know) in sick, twisted, and creative ways. When they beg for mercy, he bitch slaps them and yells "You no talk!" When they talk again, he kills them real good. For the record, I would not talk if he told me not to. Then again, I find it hard to talk through tears.
Ju-yeon is a hot Korean chick who can't change a flat tire, which apparently is an offense punishable by death in Korea. I'm pretty sure that's what drove Kyung to torture and kill her. Or... it could be that he's just a really sick twist, and he was bored. Either way, killing is his business, and business is good.
Dae-hoon is the secret agent who is engaged to Ju-yeon. When she is killed, he takes a week off of work to go bat shit crazy, find Kyung, and visit on him 10,000 times the pain he inflicted on his true love. He promises her ghost that at her funeral, so he has to follow through. And, he does. Although to be fair, 10,000 times any amount of violence is pretty much an impossible goal, though it's a nice sentiment.
And so Dae-hoon chases Kyung across Korea, messing with his head, torturing him at will, and teaching him a lesson in revenge! Will Dae-hoon ever kill Kyung? Will Kyung instead kill Dae-hoon? Will innocent people die when they don't have to, all to teach Dae-hoon that revenge has its price? I don't know about all of that, but let me say that even in Korea it's important to never poke the bear. Bears don't like that.
The Good- I think it's fair to say that I Saw the Devil is the best serial killer movie we've seen since Se7en. We see them all too, because there's something about a good hero vs. serial killer drama that just tickles our horror bones. This one tickled us so much that we peed a little. Figuratively, of course.
This movie has a level of tension that is palpable, and combined with brutal violence, compelling characters brought to life by a great cast, and some pretty sharp directing by Kim Ji-woon, it sucked us in instantly and became an instant favorite. South Korea is putting out some great films these days, and even if they are on the bloody side of thing sometimes, they shouldn't be missed.
It's great to see Min-sik Choi back in front of the camera again in a major role since his self imposed exile from film (he's political or something.) He is brilliantly intense as Kyung, and scared us a little bit with his portrayal. If you're unfamiliar with his previous work, you need to check out Oldboy; revenge movies don't get much better than that. And it has to be said that Byung- hun Lee was great as Dae-Hoon as well.
The Bad- In all honesty, as amazing as this movie was, it could have withstood about 10 or so minutes of exposition trimmed off to make it leaner and meaner. That's not to say that it's boring or slow, just that it could have been that much more effective with a cut here or there.
The Downright Horrendous- Character aesthetics aside, why not just kill the ruthless killer when you have the chance? I mean, why toy with the guy? I understand that Dae-Hoon went off of the deep end and wanted to make Kyung suffer, but letting him go over and over again only to catch him and inflict more pain each time is like trying to make out with a cobra... you just know it can't end well.
The Gory- Between the sadistic serial killer and the equally sadistic hero of the movie, we are offered a wet, messy plethora of violence and gore; ankle violence, some beheading, multiple stabbings... it's plenty gory.
The Naked- We get one sex scene that is fairly graphic, a near rape, and assorted glimpses of girls in various stages of undress, though none of it lasts too long.
Best Line- "Hey Retard, who hit your penis?"
What did we learn?- Revenge is best served quickly. Also, South Korea makes some crazy good movies.
The Master Says- A+ I Saw the Devil is about as close to perfect as a horror-thriller flick can get. Not since Se7en has a movie about a serial killer been so engrossing and well executed, with a storyline that not only shocks but keeps you on the edge of your seat until the very end. With A Tale of Two Sisters, Three Extremes II, The Good, the Bad, the Weird, and now I Saw The Devil under his belt, Ji-woon Kim has become a director whose work I covet. You should too. This movie is aces.
Final Thoughts- She's in this. You're welcome.