TV review: Hellbound
The new Korean Netflix series that proves you really can judge a show by its title
Hellbound is a South Korean show that premiered on Netflix last week. It’s expected to be a hit, as it continues climbing up Netflix’s ratings. It’s presumably so popular because of the way it successfully stretches over many themes, like the supernatural, crime, cults, and possibly zombies.
Hellbound is a show that is bound to scratch the itch left behind by Squid Game. It was created by Yeon Sang-Ho, who is also known for the fantastic film Train to Busan that featured Gong Yoo, one of South Korea’s best actors. While watching Hellbound, it was immediately obvious to me that the director was also behind Train to Busan. The camera work, the cinematic blue editing, and the apocalyptic theme are also seen in Train to Busan.
During the six episodes, the audience is welcomed to a complex world of cults and powerful leaders. The premise of Hellbound is seemingly simple: certain individuals are given a decree by an angel who tells them that they have a specific amount of time left on earth. The angel also tells them the exact hour and the exact date they will die. This, of course, would scare anyone, and thus the characters are seen frantically freaking out and going off to secluded places to die. Amidst all of this, there are also a cultish group of people known as The Arrowhead who terrorize the people that are marked to go down below instead. If The Arrowheads find out you are bound for hell, you and your entire family are seen as evil sinners. The cult leader believes that this means that the world is ending, and it is a sign from God to be better people.
Hellbound is a beautifully created show with incredible CGI. The cinematography is minimalistic and brutal. Viewers should be warned that the show includes lots of bloodshed and some burned bodies. I wouldn’t recommend watching if you are easily scared. What makes Hellbound interesting to me is that it invokes fear in you. This is not the normal jump scare type of fear. Rather, this is a psychological fear that makes you dread the inevitable – death.
The show is based off of the Webtoon The Hellbound, where the creatures from hell are these tall, giant, dark gray beasts. They torture the person before burning them to death and leaving their burnt body for the public to see, right before literally vanishing into thin air. In the original, there is a cult group, New Truth, that believes these creatures are a sign from God. They livestream the deaths of the people given the hellbound decree. One of the characters, Min Hyejin, a lawyer who is against the New Truth, creates her own company which helps people bound for hell disappear smoothly in order to keep their fate from being broadcasted. New Truth uses these people to spread their own agenda without a care for those who are bound for hell.
The show ends with a harrowing revelation and what seems to be a hint of a possible season two. Netflix has not yet revealed whether there will be a season two, but here’s hoping there will be! I refuse to spoil the ending because I need everyone and their mom to watch the show to find out – and be just as spooked as I am.