Netflix‘s new Korean drama Hellbound has director Yeon Sang-ho takes on God and hell. While it encompasses a different genre compared to Squid Game, there is no denying Hellbound is the next big hit for Netflix. While Squid Game took on the gruesome fear of capitalism in society, Hellbound takes audiences on a deadly, grim, and horror-filled story of what it means to sin with no way out.
The K-drama centers around people receiving prophecies from an angel of their death and condemnation to hell. The new world phenomenon leads to the rise of a cult religion that uses it for absolute power.
[Spoiler alert: This article contains mild spoilers about Hellbound.]
‘Hellbound’s’ blood and gore intesify the tragedy of a new world order
Squid Game shocked viewers with its brutality and gore when 456 players were killed trying to survive childhood games. But, Hellbound takes it’s a different level that is inescapable. When it is time for the prophecy to be fulfilled, a trio of hell’s emissaries rises to Earth. The monsters alone are enough to instill fear in anyone, but the amount of brutality they display is jaw-dropping. Hellbound successfully brings in bloodshed to depict how real and violent humanity’s reality has become.
To make matters worse, the people condemned to hell have no way of escaping as the emissaries murder them before burning them alive. An even more gripping aspect of the K-drama is society’s willingness to turn on the condemned. A sub-cult called Arrowhead takes matters into their own hands, beating anyone who has sinned.
‘Hellbound’ K-drama plot twists questions what it means to sin
The dynamic storyline of Hellbound is hard to describe without giving away spoilers. It all begins with the main character Jeong Jin-soo (Yoo Ah-in), the founder of the New Truth Society. He claims he is looking for evidence of God and has studied the phenomenon for years. The base of the phenomenon? God is punishing humanity for not living a righteous and sin-free life. Those who have sinned must pay for their actions.
The crux of Hellbound‘s storyline is the often fought-over dilemma of what is considered a sin, who is a sinner, and so on. According to The South China Morning Post, Yeon “offers us an alternate universe shrouded in grey, a veritable moral morass that implicates every single living and breathing cog within it.”
The K-drama plays with the idea that even a person who lives a sin-free life can go to hell. Viewers may think Jin-soo plays a more significant role, but he was only the gateway to allow the religion to take control and prove someone who lives righteously can be condemned. The storyline and the New Truth Society’s doctrine are questioned when a newborn child is given a prophecy.
The main cast brings the K-drama to life with superb acting
Actor Yoo once again impressed audiences with another K-drama. According to Digital Spy, “Yoo Ah-in charms in this quite, eerie role, and he’s joined by a wider cast who all excel here too, reminding viewers that charismatic, moving performances can be — and are often — found in genre fare too.” Yoo’s character gives off a feeling of dread with a hidden agenda. Yoo portrayed the complex character well.
The main character Min Hye-jin, played by Kim Hyun-joo, is a solid character that was not swayed by Jin-soo or the religion. Kim portrayed a female protagonist who witnesses firsthand what it means to stop a new world order and its consequences. The actor also created a perfect balance between being the condemned only hope while battling her own turmoil.
Hellbound’s other K-drama actors include Park Jeong-min and Won Jin-ah as a married couple with a newborn. The actors had to portray the fear every parent has when trying to protect their child. According to Soompi, Park explains, “I’m not married so I was curious about how I could portray the role of a father. I was also curious about those left behind when unimaginable happenings occur to your family members and people you’re supposed to protect.”
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