Bedevilled DVD review

South Korean revenge horror Bedevilled arrives on DVD. Here’s Ryan’s review of director Chul-soo Yang’s disturbing debut…

Bedevilled‘s premise is a little like a violent retelling of Robin Hardy’s folk-horror classic, The Wicker Man. Stressed-out career woman, Hae-won (Seong-won Ji) heads to the remote island of Moo-do for a brief vacation with childhood friend, Bok-nam (Yeong-hie Seo). Finding a tiny community of just nine people, Hae-won is horrified to discover that Bok-nam and her young daughter are horribly treated by the island’s other inhabitants.

Forced to work in the fields by a cackling trio of elder women, and subjected to terrible abuse by her husband and his lecherous brother, Bok-nam begs the pale, doll-like Hae-won to help get her and her daughter off the island.

Cold and worryingly indifferent to Bok-nam’s suffering, Hae-won refuses, and instead acts as a passive witness to Bok-nam’s violent mental disintegration, leading to a violent, yet inevitably bloody climax.

The bewitchingly leafy environs of the island are a backdrop for an unremittingly harsh film of violence and degradation, and it’s the moments involving Bok-nam and her daughter’s cruel treatment, as opposed to its blood-letting, that prove to be the hardest to watch.

Ad – content continues below

First-time South Korean director, Chul-soo Yang, appears to be attempting to formulate some sort of comment about gender politics, misogyny and the degrading impact of domestic violence, in the film’s first two-thirds, but much of this is swept away by the later segment’s fountains of gore.

After a slow, quite meticulous build-up, the film degenerates into the kind of revenge scenario familiar from films like I Spit On Your Grave, making the first half of Bedevilled a manipulative justification for the righteous fury meted out in its second.

Bedevilled isn’t, however, a badly made film. Making the most of a small budget, it’s well shot and edited, and Yeon-hie Seo should be commended for an absolutely tremendous performance as a desperately innocent, vulnerable woman goaded into committing terrible acts.

I also liked the way in which Hae-won is introduced as the film’s central protagonist, only to be revealed as a selfish, coldly indifferent character as the narrative unwinds. Ultimately, it’s the simple, put-upon Bok-nam who wins our sympathy. There’s an interesting interplay, too, between her naivety and the detached selfishness of Seong-won Ji’s effete city dweller.

Had the rest of the island’s inhabitants been invested with the depth of her character, Bedevilled would undoubtedly had more impact, and perhaps even a little less predictability. Instead, its Greek chorus-like collection of jeering old women and perverted young men are rather too evil to be truly believable.

A mash-up of twisted relationship drama and slasher horror, Bedevilled flings together two genres in a manner that serves neither particularly well, but nevertheless provides several moments for reflection amid the precipitous showers of blood.

Ad – content continues below


Notably light on extras, the Bedevilled DVD includes a behind-the-scenes collection of clips, a TV spot and a trailer. A pity, since I’d have welcomed some proper insight into the film’s conception from its director, and an interview or even feature commentary are sorely missed.


3 stars
2 stars

Bedevilled is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.

Follow Den Of Geek on Twitter right here.


3 out of 5