The Korean darkish fantasy sequence strikes the suitable stability of gore and lore by digging into themes of radicalism and damnation
The sequence has an explosive begin, seeing three large darkish demons pummeling a person to demise on the road in full public view, earlier than burning him to a shell of ash and bones. Then the beasts then disappear from sight, as if joyful to perform their job. This gory scene units the tone of what’s to come back: uncontrollable chaos… and hopefully some solutions.
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Set within the years 2030 to 2027, Hellbound – initially a webtoon by Prepare to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho who additionally directs the Netflix live-action sequence – follows the lives of people who find themselves haunted by prophecies of being dragged to hell, having dedicated sins sooner or later of their lives. This looks as if a reasonably easy idea, however go away it to Korean cinema to raise it to one thing darker and way more troubling.
Whereas the primary scene is just about the top consequence, what follows within the six episodes is a non-linear and sophisticated story of the grim way forward for humanity.
That stated, otherworldly creatures are not often seen once more, with extra deal with the folks throughout the totally different storylines. On the centre of it, is lawyer Min Hye-jin (Kim Hyun-joo) who’s tasked to symbolize a girl who has been decreed to damnation by one of many prophecies, so she should perceive how the world took such a darkish flip and the all-too-human reactions it elicited.
We additionally meet Jin Kyeong-hoon (Yang Ik-june), a troubled detective investigating the rising variety of deaths linked to the prophecies. He has a sophisticated relationship together with his daughter (Jin Hee-jeong), who’s drawn right into a new-world cult referred to as New Truths Society led by Jeong Jin-soo (Yoo Ah-in). Following the demons’ take-down of the person on the street, the recognition of the cult surges as individuals are determined for solutions.
We additionally catch some disturbing glimpses of a shout-casting Lee Dong-wook (Kim Do-yoon), the top of a violent group referred to as Arrowhead. An identifiable live-streamer, he appears to be applauding the prophecies, additional spiking much more concern in his audiences as he drips in ultra-violet neon paint. Each scene with this man had me reaching for an power drink simply to maintain up.
A steady descent into darkness
By focussing on totally different microcosms of society affected by the horrific occasions of the demon assault, the sense of hopelessness in Hellbound grows regularly. It takes intelligent writing and aware directing to tug off this advanced story and the devilishly imaginative Yeon brings that to Hellbound in droves. He locations a society – snug in their very own truths – within the line of fireplace of so many antagonistic forces, it truly turns into a morbid delight to observe all the pieces unfold.
In case you are on the lookout for dramatic aid or some parts of levity, Hellbound just isn’t the place for it. The continual descent into darkness is enriched by the beautiful visuals and a gifted forged of which Yeon makes probably the most at any time when attainable. Too many instances have we seen filmmakers take this style to the cleaners with waves of relentless violence however Yeon makes certain each ounce of hellishness is justified by Hellbound’s story.
Yoo pulls off the position of the composed and charismatic chief hauntingly effectively, changing into the one pressure of calm in an in any other case hysterical world overrun by non secular propaganda and additional catalysed by trigger-happy teams corresponding to Arrowhead. His mushy utterances of humanity’s straying from God’s path offers the character paradoxically angelic and trusting power.
Come episode 4, the timeline leaps to 5 years later with the central characters, aside from Hye-jin, altering. In an inexplicable flip of occasions, Bae Younger-jae, a producer at a broadcasting home, has to come back to phrases with the truth that his new child child has been decreed to hell. This units the tempo for a second season the place I’m certain extra violence and storylines will bubble up.
It’s no surprise Hellbound is on everybody’s watchlist – if they will deal with the sheer violence of all of it. Hellbound has all the suitable makings for a horror-slash-dark-fantasy story: the present troubles of the human world made accountable by a doubtlessly increased energy. The concern is actual with this present, however it’s an addicting type that may have you ever shouting on the display. Don’t thoughts me, although; after my third watch of season one, I’m avidly ready for season two.
Hellbound is presently streaming on Netflix