I’m all for a bit of gore, and I honestly thought I’d seen gore at its most disgusting in films; I didn’t think it could get much worse…but this film takes it just one step further. I’m not sure how much I really enjoyed this film, or to what extent a person can honestly enjoy such violent, toe curling gore; yet I’ve come away wanting to watch it again.
It is strikingly well filmed, with some beautiful shots despite the subject matter, and ultimately it is a conventional, exciting revenge thriller which does keep you on the edge of your seat and ticks all the right boxes. For me though I can’t help but think that there was a little too much gore and nastiness; more than was necessary. Intricate detail in this instance served to make you want to cover your eyes or vomit; and I find that watching a film from between your fingers is ultimately quite tedious. The only redeeming thing about such detailed gore in an Asian film is that it is treated with a lot more integrity than any shiny horror/thriller to come out of Hollywood.
The story is quite strong although very basic and generic; a guy seeks revenge when his pregnant fiance falls victim to a serial killer. However its well executed and nicely filmed, and even the effects, albeit slightly revolting, are very good.
Credit also has to be given to the actors; the two leading males; protagonist Soo-hyeon Kim (played by Byung-hun Lee) and Kyung-Chul (played by Min-sik Choi) who were fantastic in their roles. Particularly Min-sik Choi who had the rather challenging role of a deranged murderer.
Another criticism I have of this film is the long, drawn out scenes that drag on for what feels like forever. The opening and the ending in particular are both far too long, and I reckon the rather lengthy two hours-twenty minute film could easily have been shortened by at least half an hour. Ultimately this would have made it punchier and somewhat more effective. The ending is built up to be very exciting, with the potential to really satisfy; and then any opportunity to satisfy the audience with a brilliant ending is thrown out the window with a long winded, unneeded dialogue.
I enjoyed the visual beauty of the film; some of the shots are stunning. The story is good and the action is exciting. I was on the edge of the seat for much of the time, but unfortunately I found the excitement fizzled to nothing when the film started to drag. I found the over use of rape and sexualised violence and female nudity wore thin after a short amount of time, and I soon became frustrated with the apparent constant need to push the boundaries; but other than that it is an exciting and aesthetically pleasing film.