Bloody Vengeance, Korean-Style, in the I Saw the Devil Redband Trailer
Now this is the way to get hooked into Kim Ji-woon's brutal cat-and-mouse serial killer thriller I Saw the Devil: By ratcheting up the tension, the dueling nemeses, the copious blood spatter, and the kind of insane, ultra-violent vengeance that Korean cinema has rained down upon the world in recent years. Because nothing says "I must avenge my dead beloved" like hunting down her killer and becoming a face-bashing, foot-stabbing serial killer-killer yourself.
Kim (A Tale of Two Sisters, The Good, the Bad, and the Weird) casts his The Good, the Bad, and the Weird star Lee Byung-hun (who camped it up deliciously as "The Bad" in that eccentric Korean Western) as state policeman Soo-Hyun, whose girlfriend is murdered one dark and snowy night by a serial murderer. Said killer is none other than Oldboy himself, Korean cinema vet Choi Min-sik, who has been unreservedly chopping up young ladies for years. In his quest for revenge, Soo-Hyun naturally becomes the type of monster he's trying to destroy. And plenty of slicing, stabbing, and blunt force traumas ensue as he hacks his way towards that goal.
What's most effective about the delightfully gory redband trailer (must be 18 and over, kids) is the fact that it doesn't rely on its bloody bits. They're fun, sure -- and wince-inducing, even though bodily harm is shown only in mercifully short bursts of ultra violence, at least in the trailer. But consider everything else we glimpse in these vicious two minutes: vibrant reds and blues, stylish compositions, perversely beautiful images of blood trails in the snow, a viscerally edited showdown in a greenhouse, Lee's pretty, anguished face, contrasted with Choi's weathered and impassive mask.
Once the ominous strumming sounds of "House of the Rising Sun" begin, employed to great effect, it's really on; the head-smashing, foot-stabbing, people-strangling, gun-shooting, and car-stabbing melee is so chaotic, you can't tell exactly who's killing who. Seldom do trailers distill an entire film down to its core without giving everything away -- let alone with so little dialogue.
Keep an eye out for I Saw the Devil in limited release this March, courtesy of Magnet Releasing. [IGN]
Verdict: See it. Or else.