Spoilers do remember this one.
Welcome to the sequel of The Witch – Part 1 – The Subversion (2018). The story picks up more or less where we left it, but I’m glad to say it works very much like a standalone film with a new protagonist. Without seeing its predecessor most viewers can pick up on the cues to see the plot but it’s not required. This is an action-heavy film that relies mostly on impressive visuals. Nowadays the key to special effects is in the grounding. It’s not the bright lights that impress you is how much you can relate to the action at hand.
THE WITCH 2: THE OTHER ONE is written and directed by Park Hoon-jung. I know this is a sequel to the original which was also showcased at Fantasia 2018, but you don’t need to know the backstory to be up to date with this one. An unknown girl (Shin Si-ah) walks out of a secret facility littered with dead bodies, covered in blood. She seems completely aloof and vacant when she is picked up by a van that already carries recently kidnapped Kyung-hee (Park Eun-bin). A violent scuffle will ensue and they’ll be free thanks to the girl’s otherworldly powers. Kyung-hee decides to offer her refuge, even though she’s in danger herself not knowing the kind of people that will come after her.
We’re once again in a strange world populated by super-beings that possess superhuman strength, reflexes, stamina and senses combined with sociopathic tendencies. Enemies of all sorts will come out resulting in extremely violent outcomes. This works in two ways. First and most important, most fights use a lot of grounded references where cuts, punches and shots sound out and are visually depicted close enough to be felt to the audience. The paranormal aspect is never too distant to be foreign. You have to make a CGI fight engaging enough so the audience are interested in the outcome. The other is the way nobody here is heroic. There’s little banter or holier-than-thou speeches, we’re seeing two superhuman beings collide with all the collateral damage -including other’s people lives- in the process. Nobody walks out of this unharmed.
Highly recommended with just a few reservations. Putting aside the backstory, we’re not dealing with a complicated plot. Once the premise is established, we’re just about the action with just a few side stories to introduce or re-introduce some players but don’t expect too much of a mystery. We do get a brief appearance of Goo Ja-yoon (Kim Da-mi, winner of the Cheval Noir for her performance) from Part 1. There’s no need to have seen the previous one, but it’s a nice plus. Worth a watch if you are looking for a high-octane no-holds-barred action film or you want to follow the saga along.
That will do for now.