Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
Movie: I Saw the Devil (2010)
Plot: A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.
“Before embarking on a journey of revenge, dig two graves” – Confucius
Review: No one does vengeance like the South Koreans. Well, at least, in their movies. Most movie lovers are probably familiar with Oldboy, another Korean film that showed the devastating effects of seeking revenge. And while I most definitely agree (the original) Oldboy deserves all of the accolades heaped on it, I Saw the Devil is the movie my mind goes to when I think about watching a revenge-based thriller that leaves you shell-shocked, long after the credits fade to black.
I don’t want to spoil this one for the folks who haven’t seen it, as I HIGHLY recommend giving it a go, but here are some broad strokes to get you going. Lee Byung-hun (most recognizable as Storm Shadow in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and the sequel Retaliation) plays Kim Soo-hyun, an agent/police officer. His pregnant wife is brutally (and I MEAN brutally) murdered by a serial killer named Jang Kyung-chul, played by Choi Min-sik (he was Oldboy himself, Oh Dae-su). Kim doesn’t want to just arrest Jang, he wants him to suffer, so he plants a tracker on him and proceeds to terrorise this terrible person. But you know what they say about best laid plans and Kim learns the hard way, one should never confuse vengeance for justice.
If you’re not a fan of brutally realistic movies, you need to stay far away from this one, as I Saw the Devil pulls zero punches and never lets up. It reminded me a bit of David Fincher’s iconic thriller Se7en, in that both movies are unapologetically dark in both tone and visuals, leaving you feeling like you need to take a long shower after you’ve seen it. Choi Min-sik is absolutely terrifying in this film and disappears into his role to the point where I actively forgot he was the star of Oldboy. His serial killer persona is more akin to a shark than a person as he rapes and murders victims in an almost mechanical fashion. Lee Byung-hun also holds his own against this powerhouse performance and I both loved and hated watching his descent into madness, as I knew there was no way this could end well for anyone.
A horror/thriller that relishes in its own depravity, yet never loses sight of the wrongness of it all, the title of this film fits it to a T, because once you’ve seen it, you will feel like you have peered into the eyes of a devil and, chillingly, he stared right the hell back.
Sommer’s Score: 8 out of 10
So are you a fan of I Saw the Devil? For part 15 of 31 Days of Horror you can check out my review of horror comedy Zombieland here. And for more than 100 horror reviews and lists you can check out the RMR horror section here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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