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‘Hellbound’ Review: A Thrilling Take On Cult Fanaticism, Sin And The Media

Continuing the explosive entries of quality K-Dramas from Netflix’s kitty is the sinister dystopian drama ‘Hellbound’. Starring Yoo Ah In, Yang Ik Joon, Kim Hyun Joo, ‘Hellbound’ is based on the webtoon of the same name. The six-episode series is helmed by the ‘Train to Busan’ Director Yeo Sang Ho.

‘Hellbound’ takes place in a world where unexplained occurrences of ominous death prophecies and subsequent monstrous creatures gruesomely killing people result in panic and chaos. Emerging from this absurdity is The New Truth, a religious sect which terms the events as punishment by God for humanity’s sin. Leading this new cult is the enigmatic Jung Jin Soo.

Yoo Ah In as Jung Jin Soo

Divided into two arcs which see a time leap of a few years, ‘Hellbound’s first arc shows the advent of both The New Truth and its radical follower group which goes by the name The Arrowhead. It focuses on a police detective Jin Kyung-Hoon who with his team try to figure out what exactly is going on and who are these creatures in purely a police procedural manner. The already abnormal case takes a bizarre turn when a woman, who received the fatal pronouncement, agrees to broadcast the blood-chilling demonstration when promised money by Jung Jin Soo. Kyung Hoon teams up with lawyer Min Hye Jin to protect the women. But all hell breaks loose when the smoky creatures arrive and leave after nothing but charred remains of the woman. Witnessed by almost everyone, hysteria grips the country.

The second half of the story focuses on a world dominated by an influential New Truth society and a superficial hyper righteous consciousness of the fear-stricken people. In this arc, we are introduced to a TV Producer Bae Young Jae, who clearly dislikes the New Society ‘freaks’. Young Jae’s life takes a hit when his wife Song So Hyun witnesses their newborn baby being given a death sentence by the mysterious apparition. Desperate and scared Young Jae encounters an organization ‘Sodo’ which covers up the prophecy receivers because of the stigma that family members of the “sinner” face.

Hellbound poses several ethical questions through its theme and gives a scary vision of what may happen in a highly polarized world influenced by religion. It sets all of this in the contemporary world highlighting the game-changing power of the new media.

Hellbound has a quick pacing and some big plot twists but it does seem to be all over the place in the latter half. However, the series overall is exciting and leaves one with a lot of food for thought as well as high anticipation for a season 2.

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