Ah, finally something that satisfies. I love when a good movie finishes and I sit there kind of numb for a few minutes, trying to process what I have just seen. This is not your typical “stuck on an island with a serial killer” type of movie. It has such depth and the characters are so deeply developed. The violence is unflinching, making it hard to watch. Yes, some parts are extremely gory (but what true horror fan doesn’t love that?) and it does get quite bloody the last third of the movie, but it is done in a restrained manner with each death becoming more and more out of control – just like the character Bok-nam. It seems so realistic, which is so scary. In contrast, think of the Hatchet trilogy. The murders are done in such an outlandish, unrealistic fashion with the sole purpose of showing over-glorified death scenes in a way we have never seen before. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some campy, shocking Hatchet movies. But on the other hand, Bedevilled has sophistication that is hardly seen in a true horror film. And trust me, this film is full of horror and may even have a body count as high as Hatchet. This movie is not about the deaths themselves (like in Hatchet), but about the good and evil inside every human and our breaking points that can potentially lead to insanity.
When the movie begins it seems that Hae-won is the leading character. The movie opens with Hae-won and a look into her everyday existence – an over-worked and hard-edged, single woman living in the big city of Seoul. After a misunderstood incident with a co-worker, she is asked to take a vacation. She decides to revisit Moodo Island, where her grandfather, who has since passed, once lived. Only nine people now live on the island and Bok-nam, a local wife and mother of the island, could not be happier to have her childhood friend back. Once Bok-nam is introduced in the film you realize Bedevilled is really about the slow burn, unspiraling of Bok-nam. Hae-won witnesses some disturbing treatment of Bok-nam by the other villagers. They treat her like a slave and she is horribly abused physically, emotionally, and sexually. Bok-nam begs Hae-won to bring her and her daughter back to Seoul and Hae-won refuses even when Bok-nam confesses that her daughter has been potentially raped by her own husband. Bok-nam cannot take the torment any longer and attempts an unfruitful escape that ends in the “accidental” murder of her young daughter. Bok-nam finally, and deservedly so, decides to take matter in her own hands and avenge her daughters’ death and seek retribution for the trauma she has experienced her entire life.
The instrument/method of death a psychopath uses is paramount for a memorable killer in any good horror movie. Bok-nam, our killer which in this case should not have a negative connotation due to the abuse she endures, uses a sickle as her killing instrument. That is a semi-circle blade with a short handle that’s handy for a variety of unique kills as you can imagine.
Revenge horror may be my favorite type of horror movie. I like being conflicted by a character that has dual sides. Cheering for murders and sympathizing with a killer might seem strange, but you will totally understand after watching this. Something really needs to be said for the writers and the actors who bring these types of characters to life. It is an amazing ability to make the audience like and perhaps even relate to cold-blooded killers. I can’t wait to see what this novice director comes out with next.
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