Movie Rating: 9/10
The movie starts off with a young boy named Yong Hoo who lived happily with his father who was a policeman. One day an incident happened to his father during his patrol which sent him in the hospital in a critical condition. During that time, Yong Hoo prayed sincerely in church so that his father may live. There was a priest who joined him in prayer and told him that God listens to everyone, however his father eventually passed away and Yong Hoo resented God ever since.
Twenty years later, Yong Hoo grew up to be an Mixed Martial Arts professional fighter who has never lost a match. He also goes crazy inside (and outside) the ring whenever he sees the sign of a cross and his situation becomes worse when his right hand starts bleeding in the middle of the night accompanied with nightmares which were actually demons who were trying to inhabit his body. He went from one doctor to another to help him out but to no avail. As a final resort he visited a shaman who pointed out that there’s a priest near his place and that person could help him out. When he meets the priest who was called Father Ahn, he was doing an exorcism and was about to get killed by a demon possessed man who was strangling him in the ground. Yong Hoo got involved in the middle of it by fighting the demon without knowing what he was getting himself into.
This movie was pretty much entertaining despite the fact that it was a horror themed show and for a person like me who’s a wuss when it comes to scary stuff, I was able to tolerate it because of the story line. I like how all kinds of elements (as expected from Korean entertainment) were incorporated in the movie – from dramatic moments of heart wrenching scenes between the love of a father and son, up to the creepy demonic interactions of the main leads along with their epic fight scenes. Every time Father Ahn starts his ritual, I can’t help but cringe at the thought that he’s going to get hurt again because the demons are quite brutal. He’s always left with scars and bruises whenever the purification was done and to think that he’s too old to get battered around literally by the devil. The exorcism part were both scary and action packed that it left me a bit breathless because I sort of unintentionally stop breathing whenever the demon possessed person ends up clutching someone’s throat. It’s also the first time that I’ve seen exorcism that is mixed with fight scenes in a horror movie which actually made me feel a bit better watching through it. The scary part was quite downgraded because of the combat between human and demon.
Another thing that made this movie interesting were the tidbits of background story and history of both the main characters, specifically Yong Hoo and Father Ahn but at the same time it was also the reason I only gave this movie a 9/10 rating. It wasn’t clear if the characters realized who each other were or the writers and producers just wanted to let the audience have a common sense that it was already implied that the two were connected in the past at some point. Anyway, setting that little rant aside, I love the characters and the actors who portrayed them. Interestingly, the actor who portrayed Father Ahn was named Ahn Sung Ki. I’m not sure if the writer already had him in mind when he wrote the script and penned his actual name in or it was all pure coincidence. The guy is actually a veteran actor and he nailed the character through and through. I couldn’t imagine any other actor to do justice to the role. Then there’s Yong Hoo who’s acted by Park Seo Joon. Well honestly, one of the reasons I checked this film out was because of him. Yeah, yeah, yeah… it’s not much of a reason to check out a film but still, it’s PSJ! There’s nothing much I can do about it since I’m pretty fond of the guy. At first though I was hesitant to watch it since I have mentioned earlier I’m not a fan of horror themes plus the fact that I thought PSJ’s character was a priest. I know my reasoning was so shallow, but that alone was a turn off for me to check the movie out but then I watched the trailer and I changed my mind. It really didn’t matter if PSJ was an MMA fighter or a priest because the overall story of the movie was great. Cinematography and CGI was pretty much realistic that watching it made the 2 hours and 9 minutes of my time all worth it.
Lastly, what really made this a good watch for me were the dialogues. There were a lot of quotable quotes in it. This may seem a bit of a spoiler but I think it’s still worth mentioning. In the movie, Yong Hoo kept reminding father Ahn that he doesn’t believe in God, when in fact father Ahn thinks otherwise because he knows that Yong Hoo hates God so much. He said that Yong Hoo can’t hate something that he doesn’t believe in, and that’s the kind of faith Yong Hoo has and that’s what father Ahn needed to keep the exorcism going. It was one of those moments which overcomes the scary part of the movie and makes it more sentimental. Over all this movie was a good watch and I definitely would recommend it to those who loves horror and action.