“The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion” is a South Korean mystery-action-thriller directed by Park Hoon-jung. The film follows a teenage girl Ja-yoon who escapes some vile government facility following an inexplicable incident and loses her memory. She is then adopted by an old couple who themselves had a troubled past with the loss of their son. Ja-yoon grows up to be a nice, caring daughter and a bright student. She seems to be a normal teenager of her age, yet her lost memory has secrets that could unsettle her life once again.
As per my fascination with Korean movies, especially horror and thriller, I watched “The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion” with anticipation that it will have a few twists and turns towards the end. While the film starts very slow, it is kind of enjoyable with good visualization and performance by its key characters. The plotline, too, looks promising although it took much of its runtime explaining the reason behind the childhood ordeal of the female protagonists.
Watch the trailer of “The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion”
Nevertheless, more characters get introduced, including the strangers who were desperately searching for Ja-yoon since her disappearance. Things become a bit more interesting to watch but not for long. The treatment of the story with no reference to the actual motives or the reason for the whole set of evil people behind some secret government experiments on kids of 10 years young, makes it boring in a lengthy runtime. The film could have been trimmed to at least 20 mins.
Moreover, the title “The Witch” does not have anything specific other than the superhuman powers the kids possess after the experiment on them. We keep on expecting the appearance of a witch to show some magic, but more than half of the film’s narration is confusing without adding much substance to the storyline, and everything seems quite apparent.
What is good in the film is the performance of Kim Da-mi as Ja-yoon. She has delivered an amazing performance in “The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion” with a two-faced character: once as an innocent loving girl and then the unforgiving menace. Besides, the fight scenes are well-choreographed and of the typical action genre of any of the top-notch Korean or Hollywood films.
For all the thriller movie lovers, with a little bit of suspense embedded towards the end, “The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion” is a nice watch. However, the areas where it scores less are characterization and the overall narration which makes it too lengthy. In the end, we get the sense that the film will have its sequels to take the story forward and it has ample scope for that.
Written by Park Hoon-jung
Starring: Kim Da-mi, Jo Min-su, Choi Woo-shik and Park Hee-soon
Directed by Park Hoon-jung
Cinematography: Kim Young-ho and Lee Teo
Edited by Kim Chang-ju
Release Date/Year: June 27, 2018
Also Read: Here is another must-watch Korean mystery thriller ‘Forgotten’ (original title – Gi-eok-ui bam) released in 2017.