Through The Darkness (2022)

Drama: Through the Darkness (악의 마음을 읽는 자들)
Network: SBS
Episodes: 12
Release Date: January 14 – March 12, 2022
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00-23:10

Plot: Based on the non fiction book by Korea’s first criminal profiler, Kwon Il Yong, where he details some of Korea’s most gruesome cases and how they were able to solve the crimes through profiling.

Main Cast:
Kim Nam Gil – Song Ha Young
Jin Sun Kyu – Kook Young Soo
Ryeo Un – Jung Woo Joo
Kim So Jin – Yoon Tae Goo
Lee Dae Yeon – Baek Joon Sik
Kim Won Hae – Heo Gil Pyo
Jung Soon Won – Nam Il Yong

This drama is very dark and horrifying as the criminals just kept getting worse after every case. Shocked that the cases are based on actual murders in Korea. That period must have been terrifying with several serial killers running loose, and targeting single women living alone. Out of all the cases, I was personally scared of the balding serial killer with the creepy smile. I had to double check my door locks before going to sleep everyday after watching the episodes. The second creepiest killer was the last one — the guy that pretends to be lost and offers a ride to the ladies.

I love Kim Nam Gil as the first criminal profiler. I was hoping he wins the Baeksang Awards for Best Actor — too bad he lost. I almost thought that this drama will turn into ‘Mouse’, especially in ep 10 when Ha Young couldn’t contain his emotions any longer. He was absorbing all of the criminals’ feelings and in his line of job, he needs to be strong enough to separate work and personal life.

I also loved the teams. They first didn’t believe in what the Criminal Profiling team is doing but when their analyses were always correct, the rest of the squad started consulting with them. By the end of the show, they were almost like a family.

If you want to know more of the Daesung serial killer, try to watch Netflix’s The Raincoat Killer (2021).

Rating: 9/10

The Closet (2020)

Movie: The Closet (클로젯)
Release Date: February 5, 2020
Distributor: CJ Entertainment
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Kim Nam Gil – Kyung Hoon
Ha Jung Woo – Sang Won
Heo Yool – In Na
Shin Hyun Bin – Seung Hee
Kim Shi Ah – Myung Jin
Park Sung Woong – Myung Jin’s dad

Since it’s October, though I’d watch a few horror or suspense movies this month. And this is my 5th HJW movie this year.

The Closet is about a father and daughter who moves to a new house after a traumatic accident. Yup moving to an old abandoned house in the middle of nowhere is always a good idea. LOL.

So one day the child disappeared while the father was out in Seoul working. While searching for her daughter he meets a modern exorcist who tells him that a lot of kids who lived in the house have disappeared for years and he will help find his daughter.

The movie is only 1 hour and 39 mins and I think that’s why the movie felt emotionally incomplete. We know what happened during the accident but we didn’t see enough reasons why there was a strained relationship between the father and daughter, enough for the ghost to take her to her special world. It just felt like both were grieving and the father didn’t know how to cope and raise his child alone. The daughter seemed sad but i didn’t think she hated her father.

There weren’t a lot of scary scenes, the ghost of the darkness are probably the scariest but the rest were just enough creepiness. We also didn’t get enough background of the exorcist and his shaman mother. So far i’ve seen KNG play a fiery priest, now an exorcist and i think his new drama is also about exorcism.

The reason for the ghost was heartbreaking and it felt like they could have explored the main social message in the epilogue better to have a deeper impact to the people watching.

Rating: 8/10

The Pirates (2014)

Movie: The Pirates (해적: 바다로 간 산적)
Release Date: August 6, 2014
Runtime: 130 min.
Distributor: Lotte Entertainment
Country: South Korea

Set during the time when Korea is being founded as a country, this movie is an epic swashbuckling adventure of pirates and bandits trying to retrieve the Royal Seal from a giant whale.

Main Cast:
Kim Nam Gil – Jang Sa Jung
Son Ye Jin – Yeo Wol
Yu Hae Jin – Chul Bong
Lee Kyoung Young – So Ma
Kim Tae Woo – Mo Hong Gab

Never thought to see a pirates movie from Korea and it somehow worked. I think it took a lot of inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean but still distinctively Korean. However, with the ridiculous premise of the royal seal getting swallowed by a whale, I was expecting more comedy action than serious action. With Kim Nam Gil, Yu Hae Jin, Kim Won Hae in the cast, they could have used their comedic skills to put some fun in this drama. Like Robin Williams’ Hook.

Nevertheless, I still enjoyed this immensely, even with the silly plot. I have watched more Son Ye Jin dramas and movies where she is crying or getting romantic so it’s a nice change for me to see her to action (I know she can do action, just haven’t watched them). This movie is made up of a stellar cast, I didn’t name them all in the main cast section, just the main leads and the baddies.

The movie is quite long, the first part gave a background to set the expectations and motives of the story, the second part is how the two separate lives of Sa Jung and Yeo Wol get entangled together, and the third act is where everyone comes together to have an epic battle on the high seas. There was also a mini romance between Sa Jung and Yeo Wol which was inserted in and which I loved.

Overall, fun adventure movie good for a rainy Friday night!

Rating: 8/10

Pandora (2016)

Movie: Pandora (판도라)
Release Date: December 7, 2016
Runtime: 136 min.
Distributor: Next Entertainment World
Country: South Korea

A nuclear power plant is on a verge of a meltdown after an earthquake shook the small town.

Main Cast
Kim Nam Gil – Jae Hyeok
Kim Joo Hyun – Yeon Joo
Jung Jin Young – Pyung Sub
Kim Dae Myung – Kil Sub
Kim Myung Min – SK President

I loved Kim Nam Gil as the reluctant hero. His character always wanted to work somewhere else to make more money, he hates the town and yet at the last minute he was the one who saved the town. His monologue at the last part made me ugly cry 😭😭.I also loved the other nuclear plant workers, firemen etc who were willing to risk their lives to save their families.

The movie focused on the slow build up of the nuclear meltdown, so it was so tenseful, because i don’t know if it will explode any minute. It also showed the slow response of the government in these types of situations. I think on one hand, the government tried their best to respond, given the urgency, but it’s also difficult to immediately point fingers at the government. They’re in Seoul, the disaster happened so far away. You can’t expect them to have all the answers. If only they can just magically teleport to the town and teleport everyone away from it, but it’s impossible. So I would understand why at times like these, the local government and the townspeople are expected to be responsible to handle this situation. it’s probably also a very good lesson not to build nuclear power plant near a town, and have a solid emergency response plan that everyone knows about.

Rating: 8.5/10