I Saw The Devil is a 2010 violent thriller film starring Lee Byung Hun and Choi Min Sik.
While working on a case, special agent Soo Hyun (Lee Byung Hun) is on the phone to his wife Joo Hyun who is left stranded due to a flat tire on a heavily snowy night. Unfortunately this is the last conversation he ever has with his wife when he discovers the following evening that she was murdered and her body parts scattered in places.
Devastated and angry, Soo Hyun begins to hunt down the man who killed and butchered his wife. He eventually tracks down the culprit Kyung Chul (Choi Min Sik). However Soo Hyun does not want to kill Kyung Chul straight away. Instead, he wants to hunt and torture the murderer slowly to make him feel the same pain he gave to his victims…to the point of becoming just as vicious and brutal as Kyung Chul himself.
Memorable moments from the film
* Choi Min Sik shows his versatility as an actor. Incredibly creepy and disgusting as psychopathic murderer Kyung Chul. I’ve seen him play anti-hero/unconventional leading male in Oldboy which was my first experience of Korean horror and here in I Saw The Devil he’s the opposite.
* Lee Byung Hun’s portrayal as Soo Hyun is quite honestly what any of us could become if we are hit with revenge. The things we’d do to get our own back on murderers who took the lives of people close to us.
* Soo Hyun beating the hell out of Kyung Chul whenever he found him abusing the victims. Payback.
* Gritty cinematography which accurately reflects the murderous, dark, grisly scenery from start to finish.
* How Soo Hyun has most of his emotions firmly under control for most of the film…until the ending.
* The way the music plays over the characters’ dialogue during heartbreaking scenes.
* Kyung Chul’s cannibal friend playing Habanera from the opera Carmen on his hi-fi while torturing his victim and when his hand was completely stuck to the table thanks to the screwdriver Soo Hyun used to trap him **What is it with serial killers playing classical music when they’re about to kill someone?**
The bad stuff
* The rape and abuse against women is unbearable. They were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Simply unlucky.
* Do we really need to go into detail about the gore? You get what you paid for. It’s a violent film.
* Not enough background on Kyung Chul. Where was his wife? No mention of her. We know he is a father himself yet he proceeds to kidnap, abuse and murder young victims. It seems he’s simply one of those straight up killers with zero redeeming qualities (he seems to hate women and is intent on abusing them – why though?). You have to wonder what his family think. They don’t know much on his activities.
Overall: I wouldn’t call this a bad film and I wouldn’t call it good either – unless torture porn is your ultimate kink and you like hearing innocent women scream for help. I do however believe this kind of story is a reflection of something that could happen to anyone if you put yourselves in Soo Hyun’s shoes. Someone you care about is found chopped up and spread all over the road, you cry for hours and then go insane. I Saw The Devil is a bloody, revenge film but with the revenge plot you empathise with Soo Hyun and went to great lengths to torture the hell out of Kyung Chul.