An elegant woman dressed entirely in black slowly saunters into a blood-streaked room, her tall heels clicking the path to destruction every step of the way. She bends down, picks up a small teddy bear painted crimson, looking bored. “Always shoot the head,” she tells her comrades, who are currently busy beating the life out of their latest victim laid strewn nearly lifeless on the floor before them. Clearly, someone has gotten away, someone young, and this casually cavalier femme fatale is not too happy about it.
Cut to a tiny girl covered in blood crying and sprinting full speed through a dark field, alone and on the run. Her father was the man who lay slain on the ground back there, but no matter. She won’t remember any of this ten years from now when she’s living peacefully on a farm out in the middle of nowhere with adoptive parents who shelter her from any possible threat of revival of her past. They’re dead set on keeping her safe, on keeping her oblivious from her dark backstory, the one that led her on that bloody path to this place, all those years ago – that is, until she decides to enter the talent contest. That’s when everything changes.
Once she starts singing and showing off her seemingly god-given magical powers onscreen, easily winning over the location competition for the television program ‘Price of a Star’, this high school junior believes that she has done good, because now, finally, with the promised cash prize, her parents will be able to survive the crippling falling price of cattle, and perhaps even slow down the speedily sweeping Alzheimer’s that has violently been claiming her mother’s sanity as of late. However, all this little moment has truly done is brought her true self to light, bringing back her past at a frightening speed, and signaling those who sought to harm her all those years ago to her presence in the deadliest of ways.
From Hoon-jung Park, the writer of I Saw The Devil, comes The Witch Part 1: The Subversion, a tense and thrilling spin on the slow and bleak witch trope that’s been happening as of late. Less in the vein of The Witch and Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse, and more along the lines of The Fury and Carrie, Mr. Park’s latest is a glorious throwback to the olden days of the telekinetic witch. Opting out of the slow building shy-girl-just-discovering-her-powers and instead going for the wild and dizzying notion of a woman who’s finally had enough and will gladly use her brain waves to toss any enemy who dare look at her the wrong way through the nearest window, this balls-to-the-wall ferocious tale of female empowerment is a fully engaging and explosive story about how sometimes the scariest person in the room also happens to be the one with the sweetest smile. Don’t let the overly complicated title deter you from this one, kids – The Witch Part 1: The Subversion is definitely a must see, and this reviewer personally can’t wait for the second installment.