The Witch: Subversion review by Bobby Blakey
Well Go USA continues to bring the best of Asian cinema to the US. While the martial arts epics are front and center, they bring all sorts of films including horror, comedy and dramas. The latest, The Witch: Subversion looks to bring the action and possible drama/intrigue to the mix and stars newcomer Kim Da-mi and Choi Woo-shik who recently starred in Parasite with I Saw The Devil director Park Hoon-jung at the helm.
The Witch: Subversion follows Ja-yoon who escaped from a secret government facility10 years ago in the midst of an inexplicable incident. An old couple finds her alone near death in the woods and takes her in even though she has no memory of who she is or how she got there. She grows up to be a bright high school student and enters a nationally televised audition program to win the top prize and help her struggling family. But as soon as she appears on TV, strange people start appearing in her life and Ja-yoon falls into turmoil as her seemingly ordinary life turns upside down in a blink of an eye.
I knew nothing about this film going in, but it looked as though it was going to be a bloody good time. To my surprise there is a lot less action here than I expected, but it is here in all its blood soaked glory. The majority of the film is pretty slow paced by design fully allowing you to get into this girls new life and where it is headed before things get crazy. It could have been trimmed down a bit honestly as it does take a long time to get to it all, but thankfully it keeps your interest peaked throughout. I initially was just waiting for something more to happen, but then I got invested in this story and was intrigued to see where it was heading.
Once we wade through all the build up and start getting ready for the crap to hit the fan it picks up pretty quick. When the action really gets going it does not disappoint. There are some great fights, mostly one sided and enough blood to please the horror gore hounds despite it not being that genre. This is where the movie really shines and brings something new to the table. It uses familiar styles but executed in some new interesting ways to make the action feel fresh and new. The moves along in one direction that you are pretty sure of what is going on before throwing a great curve ball and in turn changing everything you thought you knew in the best way possible.
I really dug this flick and it was clearly setting up for something bigger so hopefully this is just the beginning. Either way the film does a fine job of standing on its own despite a cliffhanger ending of sorts.