When I want to watch guilty pleasure movies, that typically points to a film featuring a “revenge” motive. I Saw the Devil from South Korean master Jee-woon Kim (A Bittersweet Life, A Tale of Two Sisters, ) doubles down on the concept of revenge. A young woman, who happens to be the daughter of the former chief of police and the fiance of a special agent, car breaks down on a lonely road at night. This never leads to good things, and here the script does not disappoint when a scary dude raps on her window and offers help. Help. Yeah, right! I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say they are gory and get gorier. Heads roll!
Her fiance vows revenge to her memory, promising to avenge her death. He secures some police files and after kicking some preliminary ass, tracks down the killer. But we’re less than an hour into the 2 hour and 21 minute film. What to do? The special agent (Kim Soo-hyeon) shoves a tracking device down his throat and lets him go (after beating him half to death). As he tells the serial killer, his pain has only just begun. So he gets to beat him half to death several more times.
Kyung-chul, the killer also has a brother who is as sick as he is and when Kim Soo-hyeon follows him to their lair he almost loses the battle, but emerges victorious. And again when the killer finally discovers what has enabled the special agent to track him down, he almost loses the game again. Twists and turns, twist and turns. The final indignity and revenge is sweeter than all the others. Does the special agent become worse than the serial killer in his quest to inflict suffering on the killer? Well, hell no, but we’re supposed to ponder this. Ok, I watched, I pondered and I decided. Off with his head!