A scene from BEDEVILLED, directed by Jang Chul-soo for Boston Investments.

Bedevilled (2010, Jang Chul-soo)

Until about halfway through, I knew how to start talking Bedevilled. It was about a yuppie workaholic (Ji Seong-won) flipping out and going on a forced vacation. Only she goes to this remote island where she used to visit her grandfather as a kid. Instead of a vacation paradise (though the island is lovely), she finds a patriarchal missing its patriarch. There’s a matriarch, though–a chilling Baek Su-ryeon–who props up her two idiot nephews as they abuse any non-elderly woman they come across.

Park Jeong-hak plays the main nephew, an utterly contemptible character who terrorizes his wife (Seo Yeong-hie). Seo and Ji were friends as children and, for the first half, one might think Bedevilled would involve Ji inspiring Seo to make a change for the better.

Except that expectation ignores Ji being a selfish yuppie and, halfway through, Bedevilled changes into something I’m tempted to call a feminist slasher movie. And selfish yuppies don’t make good heroes.

Director Jang has some really difficult scenes to get through, not to mention a dream sequence or two, but he succeeds. The film is almost always unpleasant, even before Ji arrives at the creepy island; there aren’t any happy moments, just extremely well-made ones.

Choi Kwang-young’s script deserves a lot of the credit for the film’s success, even if Ji isn’t necessary for the plot. She adds layers.

While Ji’s excellent, Seo’s even better.

Bedevilled is a hard two hours, but worth it.

3/4★★★

CREDITS

Directed by Jang Chul-soo; written by Choi Kwang-young; director of photography, Kim Gi-tae; edited by Kim Mi-joo; music by Kim Tae-seong; production designer, Sihm Jeom-hui; produced by Park Kuy-young; released by Boston Investments.

Starring Seo Yeong-hie (Kim Bok-nam), Ji Seong-won (Hae-won), Park Jeong-hak (Man-jong), Baek Su-ryun (Dong-ho’s granny), Bae Sung-woo (Cheol-jong), Oh Yong (Deuk-su), Lee Ji-eun (Kim Yeon-hee), Kim Gyeong-ae (Pa-ju’s granny), Son Yeong-sun (Sun-yi’s granny), Lee Myeong-ja (Gae-tong’s granny), Yu Sun-cheol (Old man with Alzheimer’s), Jo Deok-jae (Police officer Seo) and Chae Shi-hyeon (Mi-ran).

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