TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! In supernatural horror, the demonic/monster attacks occur in the dead of night and with no one around to witness the horror. However, in Yeon Sang-ho’s series, Hellbound, the demon attacks not only take place in broad daylight, but it’s caught on dozens of bystander cellphones.
The show opens at an outdoor diner in Seoul, South Korea. A man nervously checks the time on his watch, and at 3 pm on the dot, three hulking demons appear out of nowhere and attack him. The beating is quite brutal and ends with the man now a burnt-out, smoldering corpse as cellphone footage is leaked on social media and the news.
“…at 3 pm on the dot, three hulking demons appear out of nowhere and attack the man.”
The attack brings a fringe religious group, known as The Arrowhead, to center stage with a masked leader warning about final judgment over the organization’s Twitch-like stream. Another figure, Chairman Jeong (Yoo Ah-in), leader of The New Truth movement, holds a demonstration claiming to have the answers about what is happening. The murdered man and several other victims were all visited by an Angel of Death and told in three days at 3 pm they would die and be bound to hell. He also states that each victim had committed a heinous sin in their life, and this is divine judgment.
Jeong’s knowledge about the demons garners the attention of police detective Jin (Yang Ik-june), whose daughter is a follower of Jeong and The New Truth. Soon, a single mother of two is visited by an angel and told she would die and be bound to hell in three days at 3 pm. Detective Jin tracks down Jeong’s for information.
Meanwhile, the mother seeks the aid of attorney Min (Kim Hyun-joo) because she was approached by Chairman Jeong to film her killing for 3 billion won and wants Min to handle the legal details to ensure her children will receive the promised money. And this is our tale.
"…unique and incredibly engaging."