Sunday, 20 November 2011

Kweeny Reviews...

I'm just gonna dive right into this one. Some films come along and that's the only way you really can deal with them. Dive into the deep end and just swim through it. This is one such film. A film that gets under the skin and leaves you with questions when it's over. So bear with me while we cannonball into the deep end of this horror pool. 


After reading several reviews of the film, I finally got around to watching I Saw The Devil. I do enjoy reading other people's opinions on things, but in the end I will make my own opinion on a topic. I waited until the perfect moment to watch this, because heavy films like these need me to be ready to take them. Especially if they deal with triggering material. I find these films very therapeutic oddly enough, and was not disappointed in that regard when watching this film. I was well prepared, maybe a bit too much, as I didn't find it as "shocking" as it was presented to me by all the hype. I did prep myself though, so your mileage may vary.

This is what I like to call A Vengeance Fuel Film. They are a special breed of film, and generally deal with that nasty emotion. Wrath is a powerful emotion, and wrath through the lens of vengeance is terrible because it is focused, purposeful wrath. It can be confused with drive, because it channels a good mad-on into a goal with a hungry, growling mouth.

I Saw The Devil falls into this category well. This Korean film is done with style, and it might be because of the different perspective on the topic of vengeance. Director Jee-woon Kim is the master who made another Asian horror favourite of mine, A Tale Of Two Sisters, so I was expecting good things from him with this movie. I wasn't disappointed. Brutally directed, beautiful cinematography, and great acting. And being a writer, I love a well told story, and this one does that and more.

On the surface the plot is simple: A young couple is newly married, and the wife has car trouble on her way home. He is working and talks to her while on the job as she waits for a tow truck to get her. They are adorable on the phone. He even sneaks off at one point to sing to her in the washroom which I found just sweet. My husband did that for me while we were apart for months at a time. It really hit a personal cord with me. Of course things go wrong, when a strange man offers to give the wife a hand. She tries to refuse and just wait for the tow truck, but in the end she is attacked when the strange man doesn't take no for an answer.

From there the movie moves fast and hard. No kid gloves here. We watch her get horribly murdered, and during it she confesses she is pregnant. She tries to plead with the killer to spare her life, but he refuses. I'd like to say that's the worst of it. You can probably guess by the whole speech I did about vengeance that the husband does not take it well. The twist is this: The husband is a trained secret agent. He knows how to hunt people down, and to hurt them very, very badly. And yes, he does manage to find this terrible man who killed his wife and hurt him badly.

Seems simple right? A straight forward tale of vengeance. But it's not. Because throughout it you watch the killer do terrible things to women, and other people who happen to cross his path. He is completely, and thoroughly out of his mind. The abuse, torture and murder he leaves in his wake makes it very difficult for anyone to feel sorry for him. The beauty of this film is that the secret agent becomes such a monster himself in his pursuit of vengeance you don't know who is worse. The slow, systematic way the husband enacts his "justice" is both beautiful and terrible, and the pair tend to do this mirroring dance with each other as the film progresses. For every terrible thing the Killer does, we see an equally terrible thing from the Husband. I think the director did a great job with that. It really makes us question things, right to the very end. 

One criticism I have though is that woman are just objects to fuel the story between the two men in this film. The story really is about male darkness. This isn't a bad thing mind you, because there are plenty of tales of woman's darkness and woman's vengeance out there. But I should warn you that women are treated very poorly in this film. It can be very triggering if you have been abused. The Killer in particular treats women very violently both physically and sexually. Something to consider if you have problems viewing such things. Though for me personally, it just made me root for the Husband more. 

Overall I think the film has merit. It raises some really dark questions about how far people should go to enact their own brand of justice, and what it will cost you in the end if you do. Will you become the thing you hate? Or maybe you'll became a whole new monster. At the very least, you will loose yourself in the process, and your grief over the tragic death of your loved one will only feel more bitter and hollow in your soul.

At least, that's the message I took away from it. I really couldn't make any snarky comments about this one. The subject matter was just too heavy. Take that for what it's worth. 


  1. This sounds like a very heavy deep film. I'd like to see this one. It has such an interesting story line that, unfortunately, I smell an American remake in the works.

  2. It was pretty heavy. I don't know if America would touch this one, considering the subject matter. But I doubt they'd make it as impactful as the original is.

  3. I've heard great things about this movie. I've been meaning to check it out for sometime now. I think I will since it's longer weekend. Great review, Kweeny!


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