Movie Title: Bedevilled / Kim Bok-nam salinsageonui jeonmal
Date Released: September 2nd, 2010 (South Korea)
Date Seen: March 29th, 2013
Country of Origin: South Korea
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
I’m very conflicted in writing this review – usually I like to give a overview of what the story is, but in this film I think the less you know going into it about the actual plot, the better you will enjoy it. I knew exactly what was eventually going to happen, because I read the plot summary on Netflix or imdb. Thus, I kept waiting for this thing to happen. SO – I’m not going to give an overview here, and just give general statements about the movie. If you DO what to know the plot, go look at the second part of the review.
The movie is a typical Korean horror movie – chock full of death, violence, revenge, and not-so-happy endings. The majority of the movie is a slow, yet gut wrenching, character study on all the players involved in this situation. Some parts will be disturbing, and some characters you will want to scream your guts out at for being idiots – which is what makes this movie so great. The tension build up for a good 2/3 of the movie makes the last 1/3 incredibly satisfying. You also come to understand the two main characters very well. The acting is done insanely well, especially one of the two main girls, Bok-nam, played by Yeong-hie Seo. She does an incredible job.
Again, I know this is quite possibly the most vague review you’ll ever read – I just totally think that this movie NEEDS to be seen knowing as little going into it as possible. If you like Korean horror, you’ll like this movie. If you like revenge movies, you’ll like this movie. If you can’t handle violence and rape, you probably won’t like this movie. But, I loved it.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
Alright, if you want a little more information on the plot – here’s a general overview. A woman, Bok-nam, living on a remote island with only 9 inhabitants is visited by her friend, Hae-won. She tries to get Hae-won to see all that is going on on the island….. ie, that Bok-nam is basically a slave to the inhabitants of the island. The women make her do most of the work on the entire island, call her horrible names, berate her, etc. The men all use Bok-nam as a sex toy. Bok-nam just wants to escape but cannot. Hae-won remains ignorant of what is going on (by choice). After a tragic event, Bok-nam begins to seek revenge on those that have hurt her, in a very violent way.
So that’s basically what the imdb and netflix summaries tell you. They actually tell you a little more detail, but I think above is even a bit too much. That is why it’s in the spoiler ridden review section, however. Now below this, is super spoilery, so don’t read it if you haven’t seen the movie and plan on seeing it.
I loved the violence level in this movie. It fit perfectly with the rest of the movie. The movie gives you a long slow build up to the “rampage” that Bok-nam goes on. You can see various moments in the movie when Bok-nam is on the verge of just completely breaking down, but doesn’t, for her daughter’s sake. Then, realizing that the whole world is still against her, she tries to keep going, as evidenced by the working in the potato field scene. Then she just has a realization of “fuck it, it’s not worth it” – and so the killing begins. The kills are fairly quick kills, with the death generally fitting with the level of torture the people enacted upon her. The men who raped her get the worst of it (with one’s head getting chopped off with a scythe and her husband being stabbed repeatedly). The women had fairly quick deaths, although I’d like to think that the main “Auntie” would have had a more violent death than the other women, if she hadn’t fallen off the cliff.
The scene at the end when Bok-nam tries to kill Hae-won was a beautiful set up. The blood all over the pretty white dress that Bok-nam is wearing (that actually was Hae-won’s dress, that Bok-nam washed for her), with her laying on Hae-won, taking her last dying breaths, as Hae-won plays the recorder. It was very pretty. Yes, I realize I’m demented for finding it pretty, but it was. Of course, since Bok-nam dies and Hae-won doesn’t, it’s not the happy ending that you are looking for. But Korean directors/writers hate the happy ending so it’s not surprising. At the very least we get to see a change in Hae-won. She’s gone from being the quiet person, sitting on the sidelines, who always follows “rules” and doesn’t take any risks in her life – to realizing that she needs to be a better person. This is evidenced by the scene at the very end of the movie where she points out the guys who beat that girl at the police station, and stabs one of them. Yes, it’s not the greatest ending – but at least we’ve had a nice character arc going on here.
A great Korean revenge film filled with edge of your seat tension, violence, and revenge.