Why, even the immortal literature classic Frankenstein – from Mary Shelley – couldn’t pass up on the idea of what it takes to both manufacture an all-new breed of mankind while positing exactly what measure of science would be required to give it life. The novel has long been credited with founding the wider SciFi movement in its earliest days, and it’s this ongoing interest in ‘life from lifelessness’ that has fueled tales both dark and light across the motion picture industry.
What Korean auteur Park Hoon-Jung’s latest effort does – The Witch: Part 2 – The Other One – with its considerable effects work is it gives the Frankenstein story yet one more contemporary makeover, one that’s meant to inspire audiences with the incredible shock-and-awe. Though it likely could’ve been successful with a ‘less-is-more’ aesthetic, why keep it simple when studios are willing to pony up more special effects sequences than were truly needed?
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last few paragraphs for the final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the product packaging:
“After a mysterious girl emerges as the sole survivor of a bloody raid on the research facility behind the top-secret Witch Program, she is rescued by a pair of civilians who soon realize the girl is both very powerful and in very grave danger. However, as the assassins tasked with locating and silencing the girl move ever closer, the lives of everyone around her fall under increasingly great peril.”
As you can guess, the problem with joining any ongoing saga ‘in progress’ is that newcomers to it are likely to be missing a great deal of context. For as efficiently as The Witch: Part 2 – The Other One irons out some of these particulars for audiences, it’s still – say – the middle chapter in what’s likely being reported as a trilogy; and I’ll have to admit being more than a bit confused about what exactly is going on in this somewhat bizarre cinematic universe. By appearances, the bottom line is that there’s some obvious genetic tinkering going on in this Korean extravaganza – one that’s intent on creating a race of superhumans who can neither die nor be defeated – but that’s about all that came clean in its one-hundred-and-forty-minute running time.
Still, The Witch tries very hard to gain some mileage out of small moments, and Park gives each of his fresh-faced players – yes, even the villainous ones – probably just enough screen time that they should’ve been more memorable than they were here. A clearer plotline – one that might’ve more accurately spelled out just who all of these players were, why they were constantly at odds, and what their respective secret missions were – would’ve definitely eliminated some confusion. The performances work well enough – the screen-chewing superkillers are all equally vile, as they should be – but without a bit more information and context this one was just a bit too hard to swallow as a separate meal.
The Witch: Part 2 – The Other One (2022) was produced by Next Entertainment World. DVD distribution (for this particular release) is being coordinated via the good people at Well Go USA Entertainment. As for the technical specifications? While I’m no trained video expert, I thought the sights and sounds were quite good, though there’s an obvious over-reliance in the big finale for some – ahem – not-very-convincing CGI effects work … but it is what it is. As for the special features? There’s an all-too-brief behind-the-scenes featurette that barely fits the bill.
2018’s The Witch: Part 1 – The Subversion was apparently a bit of a cinematic phenomenon – at least enough to give it a sequel – but as I’d not seen it I can only admit to being lost throughout so very much of The Witch: Part 2 – The Other One’s action and premise. Superficially, it would appear to involve some competing groups of superhumans – there are hints of genetic tampering along with some other nefarious government actions – but, honestly, it’s all a bit confusing. The fact that it’s clearly left open for another one suggests your understanding and enjoyment of it might require seeing Part 1 … if for no better reason than to know just whom you’re supposed to be rooting for in this visual soup.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Well GO USA provided me with a complimentary Blu-ray of The Witch: Part 2 - The Other One (2022) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.