01st Aug2022

Fantasia 2022: ‘The Witch Part 2: The Other One’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Shin Sia, Park Eun-bin, Seo Eun-soo, Jin Goo, Kim Da-mi | Written and Directed by Park Hoon-jung

I was lucky enough to see The Witch Part 1: The Subversion as part of my coverage for Glasgow Frightfest in 2019. It was my favourite movie of the festival and was the perfect action horror movie. I can only assume they delay in the sequel was because of the pandemic but in truth, three years isn’t too much of a wait. As soon as I heard Part 2 was part of Fantasia, I knew I had to see it immediately!

A girl is the lone survivor after an attack on a research facility. Covered in blood and left for dead she walks through the woods and into the life of Kyung-hee. She is struggling herself, as, alongside her brother, is trying to keep her farmland away from local gangsters. When these henchman threaten the siblings though, the girl sets out to defend them in a flash of violence. Violence that people notice and now there’s more than one group heading towards the farmland and looking for the girl with superpowers.

Like Part 1 before it, The Witch Part 2 takes its time building its characters and the world around them. Although, because this is a sequel and most people know what they are getting into, the violence does come a bit quicker this time. Well, straight out of the bat actually but then the film does slow down – a little bit!

Even at over two hours long, the action still feels pretty constant but not so much that it becomes too much. It’s always exhilarating, violent and fun to watch. If there was any complaint I could give to the film is that I maybe would have like to have seen the siblings and the girl connect for a bit longer. But with the restraints of a film (other than say a TV show) and the time span it is set, There was no real way around this.

Those three main actors are fantastic and like in the first movie, the leads and their relationships are so important to give the film that emotional edge, that getting the right cast is so important. Cynthia (an actress who only has this movie as her sole role and who I can find nothing about) plays the girl, and she is fantastic in the silent role that expects a lot. Apart from the siblings – who not only show great chemistry but bring plenty of heart to the role – there’s also a South African actor named Justin John Harvey, who is also playing his first role. He adds some humour to the film and has a definite on-screen presence. I’m sure film fans will be seeing lots more of him soon.

As for the action itself? It’s perhaps even more breathtaking, brutal and incredible as the first film. Whether it’s bones breaking, bodies exploding, blood covering everything or superhero-like feats of strength, it all looks fantastic. The use of fireworks in the final scenes as a backdrop to the fighting is perfect and not something I remember seeing before.

Speaking of the final scenes, the last half an hour, like Part 1, really steps things up, especially with the action horror and as much as you’ll be enjoying the film before that, the ending will leave you open-mouthed – again!

The Witch Part 1 and Part 2 is one of, if not the best first film and sequel I have seen in a very long time. Park Hoon Jung is now a director top of my must-watch list. The Witch Part 2: The Other One is a perfect mix of John Wick and Stranger Things, blending brutal violence with characters that you care about it. One of the very best films of 2022.

***** 5/5

The Witch Part 2: The Other One screened as part of this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival.


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