I Saw the Devil

I Saw the Devil ★½

How much sadism is too much? Coming in as a late entry in the torture porn craze of the 00s, I SAW THE DEVIL mixes the cruelty based subgenre with a SEVEN-style serial killer cat and mouse game. In its best moments, it takes on full exploitation status (such as the strange cannibal mansion scenes). Unfortunately, the film is unwilling to provide much in the way of absurdity beyond its very intense and constant scenes of violence. Min-sik Choi does his best to make a very compelling antagonist, but the secret agent protagonist is so hollow that one starts to sympathise with the serial killer.

Beyond that, though, the violence combined with 145 minute length combine for an experience that feels mostly unnecessary, and put together purely for shock value. The film doesn't have much of anything interesting to say, and it's isn't fun or weird enough to compensate. Technically well crafted, but hard to see why this got the hype it did at the time. Maybe we were just more used to violence then.