31 Days of Horror: I SAW THE DEVIL

In recent years, South Korea has been making a pretty big name for itself in the world of film. With a great deal of credit going to Oldboy for the world’s newfound appreciation of SK filmmaking, the truth is South Korea is creating some refreshingly innovative and original movies these days. Although Oldboy is an amazing film in and of itself, it’s time to do away with the consistent comparisons and understand that South Korea filmmakers in general are simply above the bar these days.

As one of the latest films to be lauded as the next Oldboy, I Saw the Devil‘s only similarities to the ever-iconic Oldboy and the rest of Chan-wook Park‘s ‘Vengeance Trilogy‘ are vengeance and Choi Min-sik.


After his pregnant fiancé is mercilessly tortured and murdered, secret service agent Soo-hyeon (Byung-hun Lee — The Good, the Bad, the Weird) obsessively hunts down her killer. But after finding Kyung-chul (Choi Min-sik — Oldboy, New World), her murderer, and unraveling further gruesome deaths, Soo-hyeon begins to blur the line between justice and sadistic vengeance.

If there’s only one thing I Saw the Devil will be remembered for after viewing, it’s the film’s innovative story. Insane, dark, and grisly, I Saw the Devil turns the tables in a fascinating way. Typically, you’ll watch a horror film through the innocent victim’s eyes as he or she is chased down mercilessly by the story’s villain. However, in I Saw the Devil, the story’s villain is mercilessly chased down by the innocent victim’s fiancée, leaving the audience cheering for the stalk and waiting impatiently for the kill. In doing so, the film challenges its viewers’ with their definition of morality, ultimately leaving those ready to dissect it questioning their sense of right and wrong.

Gore & Scares

Although I Saw the Devil is definitely brutal and scary, it does more with psychological horror than full-on gore. In saying that, there are still some stomach-turning moments peppered throughout the film that are above the bar. In one such scene (doing our best not to give anything away), our story’s killer retreats to a remote area in an attempt to gain assistance from fellow serial killers. We really don’t have to elaborate further as we’re sure you more than likely have a handle on how awesome the preceding half an hour gets.

Overall, the downside is that there are really only two standout scenes in the film like that. However, it’s one of those cases that it’s worth sticking around through duller, frustrating, story-driven moments to get to.


Although I Saw the Devil is brutally gruesome, the film’s truly stay-with-you moments come from its intelligent storytelling and psychological terror, not simply relying on shock value to keep you awake at night. Despite not being a personal favorite from South Korea’s bevy of phenomenal horror films, the movie’s talent is an amazing showcase of Korea’s capabilities, and is truly a film not to be missed in the long run.

3.5 out of 5 stars

3.5 out of 5 stars

Cover image via

‘I Saw the Devil’ review used excerpts from Another Castle’s ‘5 Must-See Asian Films on Netflix Instant Queue‘ originally posted on July 19, 2014.


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Categories: Korean Films


Founder, Editor-in-Chief at Another Castle | Twitter: @ComradeJen

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3 Comments on “31 Days of Horror: I SAW THE DEVIL”

  1. 02/19/2015 at 5:07 PM #

    Reblogged this on Rice Cake.


  1. 10 Must-See Asian Horror Films on Netflix Instant Queue | Another Castle - 10/15/2014

    […] I Saw the Devil […]

  2. 5 Must-See Korean Films on Netflix Instant Queue — Winter / Spring 2015 | Another Castle - 02/19/2015

    […] — just like the rest of the world — films such as Oldboy, New World, I Saw the Devil, and The Admiral have shown that Korean filmmakers are currently at the top of their game and are […]

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