I SAW THE DEVIL (2010) Reviews and overview

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I Saw the Devil is a 2010 South Korean thriller feature film directed by Kim Ji-woon, written by Park Hoon-jung, and starring Lee Byung-hun and Choi Min-sik. The original title is 악마를 보았다 aka Akmareul boattda


A psychotic serial killer is on the loose, committing some of the most diabolical crimes the police have ever witnessed. No-one is safe as the body count rises and the killer continues his evil odyssey of sadistic butchery.

However, when the fiancée of an elite special agent becomes one of his victims, a personal investigation becomes a merciless and brutal game of vengeance. As one violent encounter leads to another, it’s a game where the hunter becomes as unhinged as the hunted…

The Korea Media Rating Board forced Kim to recut the film for its theatrical release, objecting to its violent content. Otherwise, the film would have received a “Restricted” rating, preventing any sort of release in theaters or on home video. Seven cuts were made with the total run time of removed material between eighty and ninety seconds. Read about the different versions of the film at Melon Farmers.


I Saw The Devil is breathtakingly, shockingly violent, even for one as jaded and desensitised as I. The camera lovingly lingers on bloody wounds, stabbings, beatings and all sorts of atrocities. The film is also beautifully shot, so it’s quite unsettling to have stunning scenic images amongst all the carnage. And what carnage!’ Digital Retribution

‘It’s very, very dark and very, very violent. That’s going to be a dealbreaker for a lot of people, and I only mention it up front to give fair warning. This is an intense, unpleasant movie in which men do horrible things to one another (and to women). I’ve had to apologize to my wife several times since seeing it…’ DVD Verdict

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“The film poses the question “How do good people destroy evil without becoming rotten themselves?,” but don’t look for answers to that philosophical query here — this is the sort of Asian exploitation cinema that takes pleasure in literally sticking its fingers in wounds. As for the killer, Choi plays him with such blasé soulnessness it’s chilling: He’s the personification of the abyss staring back.” Rolling Stone


‘ …Grand Guignol tale of a secret service agent going up against a brutal serial killer. Their cat-and-mouse battle of wills leaves many (and we do mean many) gruesome kills in its wake, while Oldboy star Choi Min-sik’s feral intensity as a psychopath makes Devil‘s two-and-a-half hours of relentless nastiness hard to watch and even harder to turn off.’ Rolling Stone

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