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Fanboy Comics’ Scariest: ‘I Saw the Devil’

As Halloween is fast approaching, the Fanboy Comics staff and contributors decided that there was no better way to celebrate this horrifically haunting holiday than by sharing our favorite scary stories! Be they movies, TV shows, video games, novels, or anything other form of entertainment, members of the FBC crew will be sharing their "scariest" stories each day leading up to Halloween. We hope that you will enjoy this sneak peek into the terrors that frighten Fanboy Comics!

I don’t recall exactly when I heard about the 2010 South Korean thriller/horror movie, I Saw the Devil, but one commenter stated that it was one of the most disturbing films she’d ever watched, and I was hooked. I had recently gotten onto a Takashi Miike kick, so Asian horror was on my radar, but I didn’t know where to start. (Horror can be hit or miss for me.) Upon hearing that I Saw The Devil portrayed horror, atrocities, and fear beyond my wildest imagination, I had to see if I could handle the twisted revenge tale. I found a movie with incredible gore, creative brutality, and that left me wondering whether the main character was someone I wanted to root for after all.

The storyline in I Saw the Devil is simple enough: a serial killer abducts and brutally murders the fiancée of an elite National Intelligence Service operative, and the young man devotes himself to tracking down the killer and eliminating him; however, instead of focusing on the protagonist, Soo-hyun, finding clues, and pursuing Kyung-chul, the killer, director Kim Ji-woon and writer Park Hoon-jung weave a tale of how thin the line is between humanity and monstrosity. Soo-hyun appears to be a loving fiancé and moral agent before he loses Joo-yun, and, initially, it seems as if he will merely be a vigilante hero who makes sure that a horrific criminal receives brutal justice. As the story progresses, though, Soo-hyun shows a remarkable ability to hurt others in the name of righteousness, and his sadistic behaviour escalates rapidly. By the final scenes of the film, I’m not sure there is any redemption left for our protagonist, but the ending leaves some room for interpretation.

Obviously, I Saw the Devil abounds with violence and gore, but why exactly does it cause chills to run down my spine when watching the movie alone in a dark room? First, all of the villains in the story are human beings with no supernatural abilities or influences. Admittedly, they’re horrible, possibly mentally warped people who do atrocious things, but there is no ‘other’ to blame for the story’s events. Second, Soo-hyun’s descent reveals the fragility of what we generally consider humanity. Whether our protagonist is really a closeted sociopath the entire time or loses his grip on kindness when his beloved is brutally killed is up to the viewer to decide. The transformation shocks and frightens me, and while I don’t sympathize with Kyung-chul, the cannibal, or any of the criminals that cross Soo-hyun’s path, I mourn the loss of the kind, apparently gentle young man who won Joo-yun’s heart and loves her father and sister like his own family. Lastly, and perhaps most horrifyingly to me as a female viewer, the women we see Kyung-chul abduct do everything we are taught to avoid becoming victims. (Okay, the second girl does get in a car with a stranger, but she was also at a deserted bus stop after dark.) Joo-yun stays on the phone with Soo-hyun, cracks her car window to avoid being grabbed by the stranger, and keeps her doors locked, but she still isn’t safe from her killer’s murderous rage/intent. My tension rises just remembering that scene, since it reinforces a fear many women carry in the back of their minds that no matter what we do, we can still be overpowered, hurt, and discarded by those who want to do us harm.

The sheer quantity of gore in I Saw the Devil will put it outside of many viewers’ comfort zones, but I do think it’s a chilling Halloween watch. Just be prepared to lock your doors, give your neighbors the side eye, and avoid dark, deserted roads for a while afterwards, because you won’t know if you can trust anyone to be who they seem once the credits roll.

Last modified on Monday, 24 October 2016 05:51

Jodi Scaife, Fanbase Press Social Media Strategist

Mid-30s geek type with a houseful of pets, books, DVDs, CDs, and manga

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