#34: Akmareul boatda (I Saw The Devil) — dir. Kim Jee-Woon
I thought Park Chan-Woon would make this list, with Oldboy or Thirst or even my first introduction to him which would have been a lovely cheat, Three…Extremes. Instead, I ended up with a director from the second set: 3 Extremes II. I first discovered Kim Jee-Woon when I saw The Good, The Bad, and The Weird, a neo-western like Django where it’s hyperstylized. I’m kind of weirdly a sucker for that genre. Anyway, I thought he was a pretty interesting filmmaker and one to watch out for.
Then he released I Saw The Devil.
Holy shit. Holy, holy shit. It’s this insane revenge film, where a serial killer murders a cop’s wife. So the cop decides to take his vengeance out by stalking the serial killer and beating the shit out of him every time he tries to commit another crime. Killing him would be easy. Instead, he tortures him. It’s hellacious, it’s nasty and funny, and it’s brutal. And the cop tells him that’s what he’s doing. That’s what’s so much worse. I will never let you commit a crime. The thing you love to do, that you so callously do, I will stop you forever. And I will fuck you up if you try to break the rules.
I fear the day Americans remake it, because OF COURSE THEY WILL. But it’s so perfect and dark as it stands. If you’ve never ventured into Asian horror — do so. Most of the horror movies of the past decade have been foreign remakes.