By SentaiSeiya on May 24, 2013

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Welcome to another SentaiSeiya Live Action Movie review(SLAM review).  Today we are going to be looking at a Korean film which was released here in the United States as Bedevilled. The literal translation of the original movie title is "The Whole Story of the Kim Bok-nam Murder Case" (김복남 살인사건의 전말")

Hae-won is a beautiful young woman working at bank in Seoul, South Korea. When the pressures of her life cause her to take an unscheduled vacation, she decides to head to Modoo Island, where her grandparents used to live.  She discovers that this small island is all but deserted, with only a handful of inhabitants remaining on it. One of the people still clinging onto the Modoo Island way of life is Bok-nam, who is the hardest working woman and person on the island. 


When Hae-won was younger, she had visited her parents on Modoo Island and had befriended Bok-nam. Things, however, are now different on the island; this seemingly cheery and quaint island is quite the opposite. As Hae-won discovers, Bok-nam has been living under in a very repressive community, where she is used to fulfill the needs and desires of the inhabitants. 

The cover art and title for the film made me think this was going to be a Korean horror movie. So while I was expecting a movie about a woman being possessed by a demonic force, what I got instead was a movie about a women that was slowly consumed by the darkness of those around her; proving that humans can be capable of atrocities far worse than fictional boogeymen that we create to personify the human condition at its worse. Each major character in this movie is warped in some way, except for the male elder on the island.  Hae-won is tainted by the life she led in Seoul. Bok-nam is broken by her life of repression and abuse.  This descent into the devious nature of adults is expressed by contrasting Bok-nam and Hae-won’s childhood innocence to their current state and also through a glimpse of how Bok-nam’s daughter is being infected by the dirty world of the adults around her.


This movie is very complex. The story has so many layers, that one could miss pieces of the story, all of which interconnect in some way, during the first viewing of this film.  The first half of the movie is a bit hard to watch, as the abuse that is dealt to Bok-nam is extreme. However, this sadistic, sexual and mental torture is needed to build up the story and the progression of the events that lead Bok-nam to take matters into her own hands. The ending of the film is satisfying because it resolves all of the story threads in the movie, but it may require the viewer to piece together some of the story after the credits role. Bedevilled is a SLAM dunk for the Asian cinema scene. It is a great thought provoking piece of cinema, that I would highly recommend to mature viwers.  Just don’t watch this movie with your kids, parents or anybody else who you do not want to share one of those uncomfortable movie moments with, since there are several of those in this movie.





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