South Korean cinema rarely sacrifices performance for spectacle. Many K-dramas are inspired by cosmic themes, but they’re still anchored by some of the country’s top talent. This was more than evident in “Squid Game”, which starred Lee Jung-Jae, one of the country’s oldest stars. Even lesser-known actors like Park Hae-soo and Jung Ho-Yeon – who had only been models before “Squid Game” – have brought considerable weight to their craft.
True to form, “Hellbound” features incredible performances from all of its cast. While the genre plot is a big plus of the series, it’s also packed with nuanced characters that ground its supernatural themes. Yoo Ah-In, star of the hot thriller “Burning”, plays the charismatic leader of the New Truth, Jeong Jin-soo. While there are undeniably cult vibes, Yoo weaves a carefully concealed angst into the character’s every move. You can’t help but feel a curious sympathy for Jin-soo, even though he condemns the sinners around him.
Actress Kim Hyun-joo is arguably the heart of the series. It is through her character, lawyer Min Hye-jin, that viewers discover the true horror of “Hellbound”. It is not angels or demons who permeate the real world and dispense indiscriminate judgments, but men who turn into monsters when they see fit to play God.