Manyeo [The Witch: Part 1 – The Subversion] (2018)

There have been quite a few interesting genre films coming out of Korea over the last decade or so, including a few truly incredible films like The Host [Gwoemul] and the wacky revisionist Western, The Good, the Bad and The Weird.  While they often borrow a bit from Western or Japanese film, they do so with a bit of flair and usually add something unique to the mix.

Which is enough to get me to watch their latest efforts.

This one is fairly familiar territory, although it isn’t all familiar from the same places:  a child escapes from a secret research facility and ends up adopted by the childless middle-aged couple who find her injured and with no memories of her past life.

However, ten years later, when her perky best friend convinces her to go on a big TV talent show and show off some of her “magic tricks,” the secret agency that created her realizes that she is still alive and immediately go after her.  Unfortunately, for them, there’s a lot more going on than they realize and it all ends with a wild and over the top series of psychokinetic battles.

There is a jarring switch in tone about a third into the film: despite a few dark hints and a bloody prologue, it settles into sugary teen comedy mode for quite a while before the soldiers start showing up.

Which is when what we think we know about what’s going on gets dumped on its ear, and we learn that the girl, Koo Ja-yoon, may not be what we think she is at all.

In fact, this gives us some of the most disturbing reveals in the whole film as we learn that her parents know a lot more about her than it seems — and are they really suggesting that her father has known about her plan all along?

The end result is dark but entertaining, with some heavy-duty plot twists and lots of brutal action.  Supposedly, this is meant to be the first part of a trilogy:  I honestly have no idea where it might go next, however.

But I’m sure I’ll be watching that one, too.





And check out our new Feature (Updated May 16, 2019):

The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

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