Bedevilled is a Korean film written and directed by Cheol-so Jang. Even though I saw it at Grimmfest, I wouldn't class it as a horror film, despite its particularly violent ending. It treads more in the realm of a dark drama, with things progressing slowly as we look into the characters lives and watch things steadily unfold over the two hour running time.
The story itself follows Hae Won, a high strung, frigid and callous financial worker living in Seoul. This makes her an unlikeable character from the off (she is one of those people you'd describe as "that b***h from work") and things take a turn for the worse as stress gets the better of her and she's forced to take a vacation. She decides to finally visit her old childhood friend who she has been avoiding that lives on a small rural island called Moo-do. It is here we meet Bok Nam who has spent her whole life living with the nine residents of the island. She's an interesting character, a simple and pleasant person that doesn't want to face her problems but is constantly having to deal with them everyday.
Bok Nams problems are no small feat though because when Hae Won visits her friend, she gets to see the harsh treatment Bok Nam endures at the hands of the other inhabitants, and the pain she's had to hold in for so long.
The other characters, sadly, lack any kind of depth, with the small island community being incredibly despicable and hateful people. The men give off an air of sexual menace and all the old women natter and bicker about needing strong men around to do the work and rarely show compassion in the hardest of times.
The film is shot wonderfully, capturing the natural beauty of the island in contrast to its smalll community. It really does have a rare, timeless quality to it which is hard to find in most films these days, like stepping into an alien world you know little to nothing about but slowly learn about its strange and sometime shocking ways.
There really isn't much else to say about this film. Much like Chan-wook Park's Vengeance trilogy, you will be sent on an emotional roller-coaster, from sadness, appalled, to white knuckled anger but all through it you'll be gripped to the very end. It's a slow burner of a film and any action junkies or gore lovers will be disappointed but anyone that wants to watch an engaging film that is at times unsettling and always testing your ability to care and empathize with characters will certainly enjoy this. That's about it. I couldn't recommend this film enough and its one that will certainly stick with you.