Shaman Yoon Hwa-Pyung (Kim Dong-Wook), exorcist priest Choi Yoon (Kim Jae-Wook) and detective Kang Kil-Young (Jung Eun-Chae) band together to track down and destroy an evil spirit named Park Il-Do who massacred their families twenty years ago.
As my quest for compelling characters continues following too many copy-pasted CDramas, I decided to pick The Guest back up following a recommendation. This is another one of those shows I’d started back when they first aired and never finished, but in this case, it was probably because it’s horror and I’m really not a fan of the genre. I was expecting quite a lot from this one given the general love it’s received, but unfortunately it just… didn’t work for me.
My first issue came with how unbalanced the tritagonists’ roles were. In a show where all three were supposed to be just as important as each other, Choi Yoon, played by Kim Jae-Wook, felt quite secondary. Which is pretty illogical given that he’s, you know, the exorcist priest of the lot, so they can’t really get rid of anything without him.
On top of that, and while I appreciated that the psychological trauma they’d suffered as kids made all three main characters volatile, therefore leading them to clash frequently, I would have liked for them to work together more. They did come to it, but not without a very, very long period during which they just kept lashing out at each other instead, which was frustrating on top of being counterproductive.
And of course, all three seemed to suffer from “let’s make stupid decisions” syndrome when it came to the last part of the drama, which… why.
I also had a problem with the consistency of the plot and the numerous accounts of plot convenience that occurred throughout. I can’t really elaborate on that for fear of spoiling things, but the show doesn’t really lay out any rules for all the exorcisms—there’s no definite pattern to the ceremonies, for instance, which seems odd to me.
Add to that the way that not one of the three main characters stopped to consider a very obvious possibility before episode 12 or so, plus the way things are hinted at that in the end never lead up to anything even though I was anticipating the answers a lot, and you have me losing interest around episode 10.
(This might also have something to do with the fact that after a while in KDramaland, you get used to expecting certain things from certain actors.)
Let’s be honest, the actors who had to play the possessed were all incredibly good, and very creepy. Jung Eun-Chae also had a very good scene in there as Kang Kil-Young. Kim Jae-Wook, for his part, delivers some excellent exorcism scenes which really show how much effort he put into researching this role. (I’ll freely confess that I was very distracted by his wonderful silhouette and his ever-magnificent cheekbones.). Kim Dong-Wook, on the other hand, was alright most of the time, I suppose, but there were several times during which he just stared emptily into space and I was convinced he was having a vision when he was, in fact, not.
In the end, what was supposed to be a horrific thriller was anything but thrilling to me, which disappointed me quite a bit. The exorcism scenes were absolutely fantastic, brilliantly acted and incredibly violent psychologically speaking—the scriptwriters really managed to convey how twisted Evil is, and how it will use any means to bring you to your knees, but sadly there were barely any at all. By episode 10, I was falling asleep in front of my screen, and my heart didn’t even flutter when somebody got possessed. The reveals didn’t have any real impact on me, I was just… indifferent.
Plus, the more was revealed about Park Il-Do, the less impressed I felt. He started out as this mysterious, powerful figure, but the more I learned about him, the less credible it seemed, even in a world of ghosts and exorcists. Somehow, watching this show, I had trouble suspending my disbelief. It might not make much sense, and I know a lot of people loved this drama and found it very scary, but it just…
All in All…
I did enjoy this show somewhat, but it just didn’t work for me in the end. I’m sorry, Kim Jae-Wook.
(The OST was really good, though.)
Title: The Guest
Country: South Korea
Starring: Kim Dong Wook, Kim Jae Wook, Jung Eun Chae, Lee Won Jong, Ahn Nae Sang
Aired: 09/12/2018 to 11/01/2018
Number of Episodes: 16
Genres: Thriller, Crime, Horror
My Rating: ★★☆☆☆