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A woman named Joo-Yun (Oh San-Ha) is stranded in her broken down car on a snowy night. She talks to her fiance on her cellphone while she awaits for a tow truck. Her fiance is So-Hyun (Lee Byung-Hun), an agent for the National Intelligence Service.
Meanwhile, a yellow van stops in front of the woman's broken down car. A man named (Choi Min-Sik) gets out of the van and knocks on the woman's window. He offers to help her get the car started. The preoccupied fiance Soo-Hyun, still on the phone with Joo-Yun, advises her to stay in the car until the tow truck arrives and gets called away on business matters. Joo-Yun tells the creepy man that she will wait for the tow truck and raises her window shut. Moments later, the creepy man named Kyung-Chul smashes the passenger window open with a sledgehammer and beats Joo-Yun unconscious. Kyung-Chul takes Joo-Yun to his home and decapitates the woman.
A few days later, an ear is found in a plastic bag by children playing near a river. When the police arrive, they later find Joo-Yun's head in the river. At this moment So-Hyun arrives at the crime scene and witnesses his fiance's decapitated head.
At the funeral for Joo-Yun, Soo-Hyun apologizes to her for not being there to protect her and also promises to inflict pain 1,000x worse to the man responsible for her death.
When Soo-Hyun tracks down his fiance's killer he beats the man severely. The killer awakens the next day bloodied, but still alive. There is also an envelope with money left on his belly. Soo-Hyun's plan for vengeance is just beginning ...
- Early working title for the film was "Subtropical" / Ayeoldae (아열대).
- Filming began in February, 2010, shooting in the Mok-dong neighborhood of Seoul, South Korea.
- Choi Min-Sik & director Kim Jee-Woon previously worked together in the 1998 black-comedy film "The Quiet Family," while Lee Byung-Hun & Kim Jee-Woon previously worked together in the 2008 action film "The Good, The Bad, The Weird."
- On July 27th, 2010 the Korea Media Rating Board applied the most restrictive rating 19+, known in Korea as "제한상영가," to "I Saw the Devil" for violent content. The movie was re-edited and submitted for the 2nd time to the Korea Media Rating Board. On August 4th, 2010, the Korea Media Rating Board again applied the most restrictive 19+ rating (제한상영가). Because of this, the advance press screening was delayed from August 5th to August 11th. The movie was then re-edited and submitted for the third time to the Korea Media Rating Board. On August 11th, 2010 the Korea Media Rating Board applied the less restrictive "teenager restricted (18+)" rating. The most restrictive 19+ rating (제한상영가) would have severely limited the release of "I Saw the Devil" in Korea because no theatres currently exist to show such films.
- The final submission to the Korea Media Rating Board contained a total 1:30 seconds cut from the first submitted version.
- The production company then edited a total of 7 more scenes in fear of inspiring copy cat crimes. Scenes including cannibalism was edited out in particular. The dinner scene with Choi Min-Sik and his serial killer friend originally had body parts on their dinner table, but was modified in the final release to have beef.
Additional Cast Members:
- 2010 (35th) Toronto International Film Festival - September 9-19, 2010 - Special Presentations *North American Premiere
- 2010 (58th) San Sebastian International Film Festival - September 17-25, 2010 - Official Selection
- 2010 (15th) Pusan International Film Festival - October 7-15, 2010 - Midnight Passion
- 2010 (43rd) Sitges Film Festival - October 7-14, 2010 - Official Fantàstic Panorama Specials
- 2010 (21st) Stockholm International Film Festival - October 21-28, 2010 - Asian Images *Nordic Premiere
- 2010 (24th) AFI FEST - October 28-November 5, 2010
- 2010 (5th) The London Korean Film Festival - November 5-23, 2010
- 2010 (25th) Mar del Plata Film Festival - November 13-21, 2010 - Panorama - Midnight Screamings
- 2011 (31st) Fantasporto International Film Festival - February 21-March 6, 2011 - Cinema Fantástico (Competition)
- 2011 (21st) Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival - February 24-28, 2011 - Official Selection
- 2011 (13th) Deauville Asian Film Festival - March 9 - 13, 2011 - Panorama
- 2011 (35th) Hong Kong International Film Festival - March 20 - April 5, 2011 - Midnight Heat
- 2011 (29th) Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival - April 7-19, 2011 - International Competition
- 2011 (27th) Imagine: Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival - April 13-23, 2011
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