Film Review: The Witch

When it comes to Asian cinema, Japan often overshadows its Easterly neighbours. However, South Korea has consistently proved to be more than worthy celluloid adversaries. Whether that’s action (The Villainess, Snowpiercer, The Man from Nowhere, I Saw the Devil), horror (Train to Busan, The Wailing, The Host, Thirst) or mystery/thriller (Oldboy, Mother, Memories of Murder, The Chaser). More often than not, successful movies are a combination of many different elements. That’s certainly the case with Hoon-jung Park’s new film The Witch (aka The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion).

Ja-yoon (Kim Da-mi) is a bright high school student with an unknown history. Although she has no memories of her childhood, entering into a national talent show propels her into the spotlight and suddenly the past comes back to haunt her. Her appearance on TV leads to a number of strange characters entering her life. The mysterious ‘Nobleman’ (Choi Woo-shik) starts appearing in her life whilst Dr. Baek (Jo Min-su) and ‘Mr. Choi (Park Hee-soon) have been searching for Ja-yoon since she escaped their institution.

The Witch is a heady mix of mystery, action, science-fiction, horror and thriller. Park’s film has all the elements to make it a cult hit and it’s a highly promising start to the series. Kim Da-mi is superb as the charismatic lead whilst the superbly choreographed action sequences and stylish visuals keep the entertainment levels high throughout. At times, The Witch is breathtaking. A bold new entry of a strange new heroine.

The Witch is released on Digital HD by Signature Entertainment on 22 April.

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