A story about otherworldly beings who appear out of nowhere to issue a decree and condemn individuals to hell. These supernatural events cause great mayhem and enable the religious group The New Truth to grow in influence. A few people, however, become suspicious about its activities and begin investigating its involvement in mysterious events. (Source: IMDb) ~~ Adapted from the webcomic "Hellbound" (지옥) written by Yeon Sang Ho (연상호) and illustrated by Choi Kyu Seok (최규석). Edit Translation
Where to Watch Hellbound
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A merciless play with people's fears. Witch-hunt revisited. Gloomy. Upsetting. Horror with no escape"The Netflix production "Hellbound" started even more successfully on the global streaming platform in November 2021 than "Squid Game". Dystopias (stories about gloomy visions of the future) these days obviously hit a sore spot in the global mass consciousness - the fear of what still is to come, considering that nothing will be the way it used to be....
Accordingly, "Hellbound" generally plays with people's fears. The characters in the story also play with people's fears - here in the face of a hell on earth that is spreading inexorably, flanked by a modern form of witch hunts and establishing a new order in which there is little room for hope and light. Because even as a reward for a righteous life, only death awaits in the end. At best, you don´t have to be ashamed and getting ridiculed of it.
The focus for the 'not righteous' is a heavenly or better hellish special commando, which arrives from the afterlife in the form of huge hell gorillas and stages a small earthly hellfire from human bones. No less shocking is the moment that meticulously announces the day and hour of this death in advance.
Rarely have there been so many crazy, delusional people in KDrama (here namely in the realm of the sect). The number of truly honest people can be counted on one hand. And in between there is the vast majority of the terrified masses, blinded and tamed by the New Truth Society's threats sold as hope...
The prospects are really daunting. Not just unearthly prophecy and execution of the death sentence for the shameful, despicable sinners. Even more actually what this scenario does to the people. There is the group of the "arrowhead" who, already sort of detached from any aspect humanity. Their members receive the carte blanche from the ordained sect priests to use the brute force and terror in order to carry out a multimedia-fuelled new edition of witch hunts. They are allowed to live out their wildest violent fantasies . And then there are the would-be ´gentlemen´ (and ´ladies´), CEOs and high priests of the New Truth Society, who submit their new 'commandments' to the people, and the VIPs who solemnly attend the celestial court processes live and in the first row...
Eventually, it can´t get any worse than that. "Hellbound" effortlessly catapulted humanity back into the deepest Middle Ages - yet in the midst of the modern, high-tech 21st century. Business with sin is very popular there. From now on it is no longer about the hope of eternal life (in the hereafter), but merely about not to unnecessarily embarrass yourself as a sinner in the face of the inevitable earthly death...
For me, "Hellbound" is highly ambivalent. It's done great again. Ecellent actors. Exciting story. Upsetting, because maybe not so absurd in terms of social dynamics... But do you really want to/do you have to look at it? There's practically nothing positive coming out of it. Even the hopeful spark at the end remains under a hood of fear and horror and somehow doesn't really find its way back to the light... (A 2nd season is in discussion... maybe then? Or just more fear and horror from which there is no escape?)
Terrifyingly Real!If this doesn't terrifies you, you have seen nothing of the world yet!
Unpopular opinion, but I think a lot of people are watching it wrong. Because what is depicted here is Real. Way Too Real.
I don't think the director set out to tell an entertaining story in the first place. With a plot like this, that would have been easy. Instead, he took a gamble. As someone who lives in a place that is slowly sinking into religious fascism, this was all too real. To see it being decipted with pinpoint accuracy was bone chilling. The Helplessness, the Fear and how some people are always ready to use it to their advantage. Once you realise that, you understand 2 things. First, why this series exists in the first place. And second, how close this world is to insanity. As someome who has experienced it all first hand, this could happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone.
A few unexplained things, and all that's all it takes for all hell to break loose.
Though not for everyone, Hellbound is a strong thriller with very powerful elements. The way human beings are potrayed is extremely realistic, and for anyone who has lived in a situation of religious fascism, extremely relatable. Among all the shows that has explored these themes, this was the best Korea or anyone in the world has produced yet (I have watched them all, even the ones with low ratings). Don't miss it if you are okay with dark heavy themes and are willing to look at Human Nature for what it is.
Few things definitely could have been better, like a more bare sound design to create regular tension. No doubt about that. Search (2020) is an excellent example of how to do that. At the same time though, I think it does what it set out to do brilliantly! Not all cinema is out there to entertain. Some can simply exists as an warning. And this is a strong one.