By Brian Lafferty
March 18, 2011 (San Diego)--Opening today at the Ken Cinema is director Kim Jee-Woon’s thriller, I Saw the Devil. I had an opportunity for a brief interview with the director about the picture, in which he shares secrets of creating cinematic suspense.
I Saw the Devil is a horror revenge thriller about a secret agent (Lee Byung-hun) whose fiancée is murdered by a psychopathic serial killer (Choi Min-sik). A violent cat and mouse game ensues between the agent and the serial killer.
This isn’t director Kim’s first foray into horror. His 2003 film A Tale of Two Sisters (which was remade here two years ago in the states as (The Uninvited) is one of the rare horror films that genuinely frightened me.
I Saw the Devil contains genuine thrills. I only had time for a couple of questions, but Kim provided nuggets about the art of crafting good suspense.
For Kim, whom I spoke with through a translator, it’s all in the characters, which he describes as having, “unpredictable qualities.”
In the serial killer role, With Choi’s role, “You never know what he’s going to do or how he’ll do it.” As for Lee Byung-Hun, his character, “goes on a catch and release mission. We have no idea why he’s going this. We have no idea what he possibly wants. It makes us wonder what that means and what his ultimate goal is.”
Lee Byung-Hun previously worked with Kim on The Good, the Bad, the Weird, which opened last year. In that film he played a gangster. Choi is perhaps best known to American audiences for his role in Oldboy.
Choi’s performance in I Saw the Devil is chilling and cold. He is extremely unfeeling and cruel. Lee’s character has the same cool, hip qualities his character had in The Good, the Bad, the Weird.
For I Saw the Devil, Kim felt these two actors would bring a “gritty and energetic” feel to their characters. Kim also liked, “Having these two extremities clash on film.”