M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Last month, counted down my favorite horror films from my first year of reviewing. Now it’s on to Year Two which began officially on October 1, 2011 and went through September 30, 2012. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around a bit. I’ve even added a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!
How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st, 2011 and September 30, 2012 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number—31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
Released on May 31, 2012 and available on Video On Demand, digital download, and DVD/BluRay!
Directed by Chul-soo Jang
Written by Kwang-young Choi
Starring Yeong-hie Seo, Seong-won Ji, Min-ho Hwang, Min Je, Ji-Eun Lee, Jeong-hak Park
Find out more about this film here!
With South Korean filmmaking being all the rage today, it would be in everyone’s best interests to check out BEDEVILLED; an import from South Korea is an unflinching look at a woman swallowed in a pit of abuse and her relentless struggle to climb out of it. Though this film is entrenched in the revenge film genre, the depth at which it explores the character and the brutality of the violence elevates it above and beyond the stigma often attached to that type of film.
BEDEVILLED starts out as a Korean woman, Hae Won (played by the demure but icy Ji Sung-won) witnesses another woman being assaulted by a group of teen boys in the streets of Seoul. When asked to identify the youths in a police lineup, she seems uninterested in helping point out the killers and chooses to act as if she saw nothing even though the crime was witnessed clearly. This is a scene that is repeated numerous times in the film as Hae Won, stressed at her job, is forced to go on vacation by her boss. Hae Won returns to an island where she used to spend her summers to find her childhood friend, Kim Bok-nam (played by the bold and sympathetic Seo Young-hee) delighted to see her but caught in a physically and sexually abusive relationship with her husband and his brother who are the sole men on the island, save a senile old man sitting in the middle of a field. Hae Won initially doesn’t want to become involved, but when Bok-nam’s daughter Yeon-hee begins to grow of age and starts attracting the eye of her husband, Bok-nam wishes to leave the island to save her from the life of abuse she has endured.
Though the abusive aspects of this film will most likely make viewers cringe at the sexual and physical abuse Bok-nam takes, the unflinching eye and patience director Chul-soo Jang uses has a point. It makes us actually feel for and root for Bok-nam when she realizes that enough is enough. There are a few integral moments in the film involving Hae Won’s choice to not intervene and Bok-nam’s unrelenting optimism despite a life of abuse that will cause your heart to wrench and ache. You’ll cheer when Bok-nam goes on her gory rampage, then feel a bit bad for doing so.
If this film has a flaw it is that it follows Hae Won as its star. I had a lot of difficulty feeling for this character. Maybe it is a cultural gap, but even as Bok-nam goes on her spree, I still felt for her, while I loathed Hae Won for turning a blind eye rather than helping. In doing so, BEDEVILLED becomes a morally complex little masterpiece that is bound to be the cause of conversation long after the film is over.
The film is absolutely gorgeous as Chul-soo Jang soaks in the atmosphere of the nature-engulfed island. Tall reeds give that chain-link-fence effect as it cuts vertical strips into the picture. The water surrounding the island is ever present; a reminder of no escape. Even during the day to day lives of upkeeping the farm, the camera zooms in to give a hyper-real feeling of being immersed in this dangerous and foreign land.
I loved this film. From the way it was filmed to the complex feelings it leaves you with. It’s also quite a gory little film as well. BEDEVILLED is another fantastic ordeal of a film from Korea, who are on a role lately with MODUS ANOMALI and I SAW THE DEVIL. BEDEVILLED elevates the revenge film to high art and intellectual debate, though it may take a savage toll on your senses.
THE 2011-2012 COUNTDOWN!
#8 – BEDEVILLED
#9 – THE LOVED ONES
#10 – CABIN IN THE WOODS
#11 – THE DIVIDE
#12 – HAROLD’S GOING STIFF
#13 – SOUND OF MY VOICE
#14 – COLD SWEAT
#15 – THE INNKEEPERS
#16 – THE PACT
#17 – V/H/S
#18 – OUTCAST
#19 – LITTLE DEATHS
#20 – JUAN OF THE DEAD
#21 – BLOOD JUNKIE
#22 – THE SNOWTON MURDERS
#23 – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
#24 – [REC]3 GENESIS
#25 – JULIA’S EYES
#26 – MOTHER’S DAY
#27 – EL PARAMO (THE SQUAD)
#28 – INBRED
#29 – THE SLEEPER
#30 – FATHER’S DAY
#31 – THE MOTH DIARIES
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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