When it comes to horror, the Koreans have been doing it right. Director Jee-woon Kim especially has shined in this regard. Especially his 2010 film I Saw the Devil which is all kinds of fucked up. It is beautifully dark and haunting, as well as a little bit of a brutal joy. Let me explain to you why I Saw the Devil is a violent, yet lovely, must.
The film starts with a woman stopping on the side of the road. She is quickly killed by a serial killer, Kyung-chul (Min-sik Choi), setting off a massive investigation. It turns out she was the wife of a Korean secret service agent, Kim Soo-hyeon (Byung-Hun Lee), who wants revenge. Kim takes time off from his job and uses his investigative skills to find the killer and beat him up. But that’s only the start. Kim actually lets him go, after tagging him with a GPS tracker. After Kyung-chul gets a bit away, Kim follows and just appears at times he is about to kill again and then beats him up again. The film follows a chain of growing violence and revenge to some stunning levels.
If you like Korean revenge films at all then I Saw the Devil is a must. If you don’t remember Min-sik Choi by name, he is the star of Old Boy, one of the all time classics of the revenge genre. He is amazing as a this malicious killer tormented by a vengeful agent. Byung-Hun Lee should be familiar as well. Either from The Good the Bad the Weird from the same director, or some American films like Red 2. While he can play warm in other films, here he is cold, calculating, and so meticulous that he can make your blood run cold. Director Jee-woon Kim handles his cast and the dark story with such care that it is a near masterpiece. Other serial killers pop into the story, painting a demented picture of the underbelly of Korea. The kills and fights as well are so well choreographed and shot that you will be in awe. And with it’s final scene the film will leave you in a bit of shock that can stay with you. If you don’t mind going down a dark and realistic path this Halloween, then this is a film for you.