Bedevilled – aka 김복남 살인사건의 전말; Kim Bok-nam Salinsageonui Jeonmal; literally. “The Whole Story of the Kim Bok-nam Murder Case” and Blood Island – is a 2010 South Korean horror thriller feature film starring Seo Young-hee and Ji Sung-won.
It is the feature directorial debut of Jang Cheol-soo, who worked as an assistant director on the Kim Ki-duk films Samaritan Girl and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring.
The film was a hit in South Korea, with box office returns far exceeding its ₩700 million (US$636,363) budget.
Hae-won is a middle-rank officer working in a Seoul bank. A severe, tense single woman, she is being brought down by the work-related stress and the hypercompetitive environment she finds herself in. Desperate, she takes up an offer from a long-forgotten friend and takes off for a private vacation in Mudo, a desolate Southern island in which she had spent childhood.
Arriving at the island, she is warmly welcomed by Bok-nam, with whom she had a close friendship when both were in their teens but whose constant letters she’s since ignored. Life on the backward, undeveloped island is hard, and Bok-nam is treated as little more than a slave by her abusive husband Man-jong, his brother and the local old women. All of Bok-nam’s love is reserved for her young daughter Yeon-hee, with whom she tries to escape from the small, claustrophobic island. But when that results in tragedy, the woman finally snaps, unleashing all her demons, as Bok-nam takes a sickle in her hand…
“Bedevilled really is one of the toughest and most powerful films from Korea in recent years, and is more than deserving of its praise. Anchored by a stunning performance from the talented Seo Young Hee, it stands as a must-see for anyone brave enough to run its emotionally draining gauntlet.” Beyond Hollywood
“A remarkably grim film that makes no qualms whatsoever about taking the audience into some seriously dark territory, Bedevilled is not for the faint of heart. While it’s hardly the stalk and slash picture that the cover art might mislead you into believing it is, the movie does absolutely reach a violent and graphic conclusion. What’s harder to watch than that, however, is the build up to that conclusion.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!
“The moment Kim Bok-Nam enacts her revenge and begins her killing spree she changes from a tragic victim to a faceless killer. Why have us suffer with her for so long, if all we get in return is a succession of unspectacular bloodlettings as the payoff? The first hour is so emotionally draining that I can understand the desire to change direction somewhat, but Kwang-young Choi’s previously stellar screenplay simply loses direction.” DVD Verdict