by Yeon Sang-ho
|Written by||Choi Kyu-sok|
|Directed by||Yeon Sang-ho|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producer||Byun Seung-min|
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||42–60 minutes|
|Production company||Climax Studio|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||November 19, 2021|
Hellbound (Korean: 지옥; Hanja: 地獄; RR: Jiok) is a South Korean dark fantasy streaming television series directed by Yeon Sang-ho, based on his own webtoon of the same name. An original Netflix release about supernatural beings appearing out of nowhere to condemn people to Hell, the series stars Yoo Ah-in, Kim Hyun-joo, Park Jeong-min, Won Jin-ah and Yang Ik-june.
The pilot episode for Hellbound premiered at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival in the "Primetime program of TV series" on September 9, 2021, and became the first Korean drama to make it to the festival. It was released on Netflix on November 19, 2021, and became the world's most watched Netflix series the next day, surpassing Squid Game, released two months prior.
Hellbound occurs in 2022–27 in South Korea. An otherworldly face called an angel suddenly starts to materialize to deliver prophesies called decrees that condemn certain individuals to Hell at a specific future time, either seconds or years away. Three hulking supernatural monsters appear at almost the exact time to maul and incinerate the person's body in a sort of spectacular show of force called a demonstration. Two organizations in cahoots, the cult-like New Truth Society and the gang-like Arrowhead group, gain power by playing on people's fears.
Of the six episodes of the series, episodes 1–3 focus on a detective investigating the supernatural phenomena, the chairman of the New Truth religious order, and a principled female attorney. Except for the attorney, the core characters change in episodes 4–6, which take place 5 years later and focus on a television producer and his wife who have to struggle with the fact that their newborn baby is bound for Hell.
In April 2020, Netflix approved production of an original series based upon an 11 minute long webtoon Hellbound, written and drawn by Yeon Sang-ho in 2002. Yeon signed on to direct the series.
The series was filmed at Cube Indoor Studio from August 2020 to January 2021. The old Chungnam Provincial Government Buildings in Sunhwa-dong, Jung-gu and the Hannam University Missionary Village in Daedeok-gu were outdoor locations for filming. On February 25, 2021, the director and the cast of the Hellbound introduced the TV series in Netflix content roadshow.
The series had its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, when the first three episodes were screened in 'Primetime' section on September 9, 2021 and became the first Korean drama to make it to the festival. The first three episodes were also screened at the 26th Busan International Film Festival in newly created 'On Screen' section on October 7, 2021 and at the 65th BFI London Film Festival in 'Thrill' section on October 15, 2021. It was released for streaming on Netflix on November 19, 2021.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 96% approval rating, based on 28 reviews with an average rating of 7.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Summoned by the devilish imagination of writer-director Yeon Sang-ho, Hellbound leverages its terrifying concept to thoughtfully explore human fallibility."
As of week ending at November 28, Hellbound with 67.52 million viewing hours is at 2nd place in Global Top 10 weekly list of the most-watched TV shows (Non-English).
On release it recorded 43.48 million viewing hours in three days of release and rose to top spot in the 'Netflix global TOP 10 TV (non-English) category' as per Netflix TOP 10 website. It ranked first in the 'TOP 10' in 12 countries, whereas it was listed in the 'TOP 10' list in 59 countries worldwide. This is the fastest rate for a Korean series on Netflix.
Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com gave the series a positive review, praising how the show mixed grounded horror with thoughtful discussions about sin. He wrote: "The wrath monster trio might be absurd, but the madness within Hellbound is extremely believable." Kylie Northover writing for The Age gave 4 stars out of 5 and appreciating the narrative wrote, "...the narrative steadily evolves into a compelling mix of police procedural, violent horror and shrewd commentary around ideas of human flaws, mortality, sin, justice and the influence of media." Referring to The Leftovers, she felt that Hellbound shows sensibilities as "humanity’s search for purpose in the face of the divine, but its exploration of the conflicting ways in which humanity might react to such a mass event feels like something to which we can all, in a small way, relate post-pandemic.
Ed Power of The Telegraph rated the series with 3 stars out of 5 and stated, "Hellbound unspools like a mix of Clive Barker, The Da Vinci Code and the iconic Japanese horror, Ring." Kim Seong-hyeon reviewing for YTN wrote the "performances of the actors that make the hell of reality that the director solidly created in this way more smoothly". Concluding, Kim stated, "Although the somewhat insufficient CG leaves a little disappointment, Hell is a work that leaves a deep impression enough to offset that. There seems to be no doubt that Hell will be the most talked about work this winter." Abhishek Srivastava of The Times of India graded the series with 4 stars out of 5 and appreciated the narrative and performance stating, "It works multiple surprises in its narratives and features excellent performances that accentuate the drama on contrasts amongst its characters". About plot, Srivastava said, "In a neat, riveting plot twist, the show jumps ahead a few years; bringing in a new layer of characters, scenarios and situations,... Concluding his review he said, "Hellbound is not a horror thriller, or a crime drama. [Rather] it combines elements from different genres to create a highly bingeable show where human behaviour comes under scrutiny." Jeffrey Zhang of Strange Harbors graded the series with B+ and stated, "Hellbound finds a tricky moral tightrope underneath its phantasmagoria - a meticulously crafted and surprisingly introspective chiller even when it stumbles in its thematic juggling act".
Stuart Heritage of The Guardian commenting on the comparison of the series with Squid Game wrote, "Hellbound is a truly exceptional drama wrapped in only the lightest of genre thrills. It might currently find itself swept up in Squid Game’s wake, but I guarantee that, of the two, it’s the show that will still be talked about a decade from now."
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2021-12-15 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=65690872