If you look at your Netflix account and go to the trends, you will find a new Korean series titled Hellbound from director Leon Sang-hoo (the genius behind Train to Busan, one of the best horror and zombie movies of recent years). After the worldwide phenomenon of The Squid GameIt is not surprising that we see each of the productions that come from South Korea.
Hellbound it has two premises on which it sustains its story. The first is about the idea of knowing the exact moment of our death and the reasons behind it; and the second, free will. The two, perversely linked, have been explored in depth in both literature and film, including television. However, what makes Hellbound interesting, is that exploits the resource of cults and religious fanaticism to present us with the idea of the afterlife, but on Earth (and not in a symbolic way).
That is to say, The wrath of God, the perfect revenge, our pass to hell, it is real, we see it, we record it with our mobile devices and it comes in the form of three horrible monsters that end the lives of those who have decided to sin. The question is: What are we willing to do in order to merit or earn God’s favor and mercy? Hellbound puts many things on the table, so here below we will talk more in detail.
Have you already surpassed Squid Game?
We would make a mistake if we compare Hellbound and Squid Game beyond that they are original productions of South Korea. Both present violent scenarios and focus their stories on complex human reactions to fear. The two show the eternal debate of how we tend to confuse what is good and what is good for us. But they are not even remotely the same.
Hellbound it’s a much broader, darker and deeper drama that searches the entrails of human beings and how we assume ourselves to be superior to others under the concept of good. And that superiority in which we decide who is good and who is not, points to the fragile human experience.
This new series, in fact, already surpassed The Squid Game by becoming the most watched Netflix series last November 20, it climbed in the ratings in more than 80 countries just 24 hours after its debut.
Hellbound It starts with a scene in a cafeteria. A group of young people are watching on a computer the video where three huge black beasts (similar in shape to the Hulk), kill a person in a violent way. In front of the person in agony, the three entities unite and seem to absorb his soul and then disappear.
As the youth debate whether the video is real or not, a subject at a table checks a timer that reads less than a minute. He is nervous, or rather scared. At the end of the account, the same three monsters from the video appear and begin to beat him. The subject flees between the streets and when they reach him, they throw him against the cars like a toy, they tear him apart, hurt him, and in agony, they suck up his soul. In the street are the burned bones of the person. The monsters run and disappear into what appears to be a portal.
Dozens of people witnessed the moment, it was recorded on their cell phones. The police, faced with a population in panic, investigate the “crimes”. What or who are these things? Why did they kill the subject?
This is where we meet two central characters of Hellbound. The first is the detective investigating the cases, Jin Kyunghun, who has faced the worst of humanity. His wife was brutally murdered, and after serving his sentence, the murderer went free and rejoined society. Would he have killed her if there really was a real consequence beyond the fear of hell?
Jung Jinsu is a portrayed young man, president of a religious sect known as The New Truth that has determined that monsters come for those who have sinned. He tries to use the fear of dying at his hands (or of dying before his time), to convince his followers that they must be more just to fulfill God’s command.
For the detective, this idea represents the breakdown of what makes us human: free will. But isn’t it free will that leads humans to decide between good and evil and commit the most heinous crimes? Hellbound, with the element of horror and fantasy, explores how fear leads men and women to the darkest parts. An irony in itself.
We are all sinners
The first episode of Hellbound it is decisive to know if he is going to enter the series or not. It starts up in an intense way, and little by little the rush goes down to explain the scenario of the next six episodes and cHow will they escalate as we meet new characters.
Another determining name is that of Min Hyejin, a lawyer involved in the victims of The Spear, a sect alternate to The New Truth made up of teenagers who go out into the streets with bats to “hunt” sinners who have denied the will of God. She takes the case of a woman who, on her birthday, receives her sentence: in 5 days it will die at 3 in the afternoon.
There are several aspects to discuss with Hellbound. Perhaps the most superficial and from the beginning is the certainty of our death, but where it is most punctual, it is in how we recognize the reasons for which we have received sentence. That is, each one is responsible for their actions, in this case sins, but will we recognize them in the final moment? The mass hysteria at the idea of knowing oneself a sinner is chilling because each and everyone, at some point in life, has disobeyed God’s laws to a greater or lesser extent.
Of course, the most brutal crimes are not questioned like murders and rapes. But Hellbound it questions those who assume themselves to be executioners and owners of the truth. And that analysis is interesting, smart and scary.
Hellbound It is a film that is not afraid to show violent scenarios. To give you an idea, the woman who receives her sentence decides to broadcast her going to hell live through the platforms of La Nueva Verdad. The scene is brutal, if not unbearable. And not always because of the explicitness of the images, but because we know that it is about a single mother of whom we do not know what made her deserve to go to hell at the hands of three monsters.