The Witch 2: The Other One (South Korea 2022)

Rating: ***
Review Date: 9/5/23
Cast: Shin Si-ah, Park Eun-bin, Seo Eun-su, Justin John Harvey, Kim Da-mi

The film opens with a familiar scene: a lost and confused young girl, barefoot and covered in blood, surrounded by dead bodies. However, this seemingly has nothing to do with anything, as the film quickly cuts to an extended flashback of Ko Ja-Yoon's mother being kidnapped by the diabolical Dr. Baek from the first film. As you might have guessed, Ja-Yoon (Kim Da-mi) wasn't the only witch that the institute had locked away. Then the film switches to another lost and confused young girl (Shin Si-ah), barefoot and covered in blood, surrounded by dead bodies. This girl is "The Other One" that the title refers to. Much like the original, she is taken in by a kind woman named Kyung Hee (Park Eun-bin) who lives in a remote farmhouse. Everything is great until two opposing hit squads track down the girl's location and all hell breaks loose. However, this time it's the Chinese who are obsessive gum-chewers, not the Americans. Very strange. The film ends with a surprise twist along with an extended epilogue that sets the stage for the third film in the trilogy.

For better or worse, the film is essentially just a remake of the original. It's a great-looking movie with an attractive cast and high production values, but the pacing is glacially slow and it's nearly two and a half hours long. That said, the characters and scenery were interesting enough that I was never bored, but I definitely wanted to speed things up a bit. Typical of Korean cinema, it throws multiple genres into the mix so it's tonally all over the place, and the attempts at humor are awkward and unnecessary. It's also shockingly bloody. Shin Si-ah is wonderful as the nameless girl who is only referred to as "Ark 1 Datum point," although the role only requires her to look cute, confused, and emotionally detached. Park Eun-bin does a great job as the main dramatic character, who is sadly doomed from the start. However, it's hard-as-nails Seo Eun-su who steals the show as the brutal assassin, Jo Hyun. She is a totally bad-ass fighter with an abrasive attitude, and she's also extremely pretty. Definitely my kind of gal, and she caught my attention immediately. Unfortunately, her Caucasian partner (Justin John Harvey) is a complete idiot who is only played for laughs. It's also funny that Seo Eun-su's English is better than his.

Like the original film, the action scenes are hyper kinetic and the superhuman fighters all take an astonishing amount of abuse. The visual effects are very good, although the telekinetic action seems to move too fast and lack mass. Granted, I've never seen a car get thrown across a field in real life, but in my mind I have an idea of how it should look. If you liked the first film, then you'll probably like this one as it's just more of the same. I'll definitely keep my eyes open for the next sequel, as I'm curious where they're going to take it from here.