I Saw The Devil—Magnet/Magnolia

Video: 4/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2/5

Choi Min-Sik plays Kyung-chul, a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. The embodiment of pure evil, he has committed horrifying and senselessly cruel serial murders on defenseless victims, successfully eluding capture by the police. On a freezing, snowy night, his latest victim is the beautiful Ju-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief and pregnant fiancee of elite special agent Soo-hyun. Obsessed with revenge, Soo-hyun decides to track down the murderer, even if doing so means becoming a monster himself. And when he finds Kyung-chul, turning him in to the authorities is the last thing on his mind as the lines between good and evil fall away in this diabolically twisted game of cat and mouse.

Magnolia delivers a pretty solid HD transfer here with only a few hiccups. This film has a very stylized look that really emphasizes contrast and bold color hues. There are some really inky blacks here so low contrast displays may have some issues. Detail overall is strong but there are moments that look a bit post processed giving facial features a slightly waxy appearance at times. Close ups fair better though with plenty of rich fine object detail and clarity. Dimensionality is excellent, with contrast helping a lot, and even longer shots appear nicely detailed. The DTS-HD Master Audio mix is presented both in the original Korean dub and an English mix. I watched the original soundtrack and found it effective overall. Some of the score didn’t seem to fit well and the sound design was slightly lacking in mood given the extremely dark subject matter, but dynamic range and detail were still good.

Extras are a bit sparse and include some deleted scenes and an HDNet behind the scenes look at the production. You also get some trailers for other Magnet films.

This is a very dark and disturbing film. I’ve seen comparisons of its violence level to films dubbed as “torture porn” but I don’t think that is a fair description. Yes this film has some very graphic and brutal violence, but it never dwells on it or uses it as its primary intent. This is a film about a brutal serial killer and the revenge enacted by someone hunting him down. Violence was inevitable. Overall I thought this was a great addition to the genre, but I’ll admit it isn’t for the squeamish. But if you can stomach it, it is well worth your time.