Gyeongseong Creature Part 1 Review: Park Seo-jun and Han So-hee’s show is a must-watch

It is very rare to watch an opening credit scene of a show and instantly get hooked. The only example that immediately comes to mind would perhaps be ‘Game of Thrones,’ which captivated audiences from the first moment. ‘Gyeongseong Creature’ hooks you with its opening theme right from the start. Featuring paintings of a human transforming into a creature, blood, dead bodies, and a solemn, melancholic sound, you know what you’re in for!

When ‘Hot Stove League’ director Chung Dong Yoon was announced to helm Netflix’s big-budget Korean show ‘Gyeongseong Creature,’ excitement was boundless. Considering South Korea’s success in the creature genre with shows like ‘Sweet Home,’ ‘All of us are Dead,’ ‘Duty After School,’ and ‘Happiness,’ setting a precedent, expectations for ‘Gyeongseong Creature’ soared. With one foot in the fantasy genre and the other in an action-thriller, Dong Yoon has aimed for the kill.

Featuring two of the megastars from Hallyu, Park Seo-jun and Han So-hee, the period fantasy thriller is set in 1945’s Gyeongseong region before the Japanese colonization ended in Korea. You meet Jang Tae-sang [Park Seo-jun], the owner of The House of Golden Treasure, the man who knows how to survive come what may and is the go-to person for any work in Gyeongseong. He is tasked with finding a missing woman named Myeong-ja. In the process, he gets entangled with Yoon Chae-ok [Han So-hee], a sleuth who returns to find her mother, who has been missing for 10 years.

The duo is led to a mysterious hospital in the region where a creature is born as a result of human experiments. This leaves the two with no choice but to fight in the eye of death.

Director Dong-yoon makes sure that while all the characters have a fleshed-out arc, it is Gyeongseong- the region that becomes a very important character in the narrative. With a supporting cast boasting of Wi Ha-joon [Kwon Jun-taek], Kim Hae-sook [Nawol], Claudia Kim [Lady Maeda] and Jo Han-chul [Yoon Joong-won], the show establishes the period, the conflict and the fantasy very interestingly.

The first episode of the show takes its time to build up the entire narrative, but once you let the period, the fantasy, and the premise in, you are in for a growling ride that you do not want to miss! The cinematography and director need to have mentions for ‘Gyeongseong Creature’.

The use of cameras to depict gory visuals and create an impact is outstanding. There are scenes where you are allowed a peek inside the strength of the ‘creature’ through a reflection of bloodshed. In another scene where the creature grows branches to grow a shield, it is breathtakingly astounding. The action choreography builds the tension needed for the thriller to keep the audience on the hook.

There are multiple occasions where you can also see how the VFX has been neatly executed to ensure that the creature doesn’t look cartoonish.

During the press conference, Dong Yoon said that the creature of ‘Gyeongseong Creature’ is unlike anything you have seen before. Here, the creature is ‘sad’ and has emotions. Well, he wasn’t bluffing. It is indeed a creature unlike others.

Park Seo-jun balances between being a vulnerable and nonchalant pawnshop owner who only talks money to being a brave heart rescuer. Credit goes to the writing. Writer Kang Eun-kyung doesn’t make this transition seem hasty. In fact, ample time is spent understanding why this gradual progression is entirely natural, and Seo-jun delivers brilliantly.

Han So-hee is such a delight to watch on screen. There is no one better than her to pull off action sequences with such finesse. She is so light on her feet as she delivers a cut-throat action. She is equally a vision when delivering a rather emotional scene. Both Seo-jun and So-hee have an underlying romantic chemistry which is such a treat to follow.

Wi Ha-joon and Seo-jun together are quite a delight to watch. Both actors feed off each other’s energy and elevate the overall performance barometer. We have ‘Forever’ by EXO’s Suho as the main theme, which blends well with the story.

The show takes a little time to build up in the beginning, which could be a sore point for some fans. Also, the gory scene, although brilliantly shot, is sometimes too much to take in one go. The characters keep switching between Korean and Japanese given the period it is set in. This might confuse the non-Korean speaking audience [most of the global audience] a bit, but the overall impact of the show isn’t compromised.

The show will be released in two parts. The first part has seven episodes. The second part will drop on January 5, 2023.

If you want to watch a neatly done fantasy thriller, binge-watch ‘Gyeongseong Creature’. It is available on Netflix.

Published By:

bhavna agarwal

Published On:

Dec 23, 2023

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