Fantasia 2022: The Witch 2: The Other One is an Action-Packed Gory Blast

Image courtesy of Fantasia International Film Festival

The Witch: Subversion was a fantastic eye-grabbing title and a bit of a surprise as a viewer for what ended up being a fun gorefest and effects-heavy film. Following in the pantheon of absurd sequel titles such as Sharknado 2: The Second One, we find The Witch 2: The Other One, a comparison that will plague your mind as you take in Park Hoon-jung’s latest visual feast.  

The poster for The Witch Part 2: The Other One shows Girl with medical wired coming from her neck and covered in blood
Image Courtesy of Well Go USA

The good news is that you don’t need to see the first film to know what’s happening in the sequel, which only has a momentary reconnection at the end of the film. It’s maybe been about two years since I last saw 2018’s The Witch: Subversion, and I was a little hazy on the details heading into the sequel. Luckily, there’s a new protagonist in The Witch 2, the titular Other One. However, it is a bit jarring initially because our new heroine’s journey begins in a similar blood-filled bunker where its predecessor ends. 

A witch, in this storyline, is anyone endowed with superhero-like abilities stemming from the top-secret Witch Program. Regeneration, telekinesis, super speed, etc., are all on the table here and used to empower an army of psychic super soldiers. Girl (Cynthia) seems to have been born with these talents, then taken from her mother and kept to be studied in a lab her entire life. 

Hoon-jung’s Witch films aren’t exactly horror films, probably more like blended action films. The first film was a bit of X-Men meets The Bourne Identity, but The Witch 2: The Other One’s storyline is a bit more generic, though I can’t put my finger on exactly what film(s). Girl departs from an underground bunker, similar to the one where Koo Ja Yoon (Kim Da-Mi) battled her way through in the first film. Stumbling through the woods toward the highway, she finds help and care from a local farmer Kyung Hee (Eun-bin Park), and her younger brother Dae Gil (Yoo-Bin Sung), who are having trouble with their uncle (Jin Goo), who’s trying to take their land. Girl helps out Kyung Hee using her superhuman powers and inadvertently triggers the arrival of more bad guys, including some with abilities like hers, to arrive at her doorstep.

A handful of people wearing hazmat suits enter a orange haze in The Witch Part 2: The Other One
Image Courtesy of Well Go USA

As I said, it seems pretty familiar, maybe leaning a bit into old western films, given our protagonist is “The Girl with No Name.” Girl’s backstory is very similar to Alice’s in the Resident Evil sequels, poked and prodded in a lab and made superhuman, or Eleven’s backstory in Stranger Things, right down to her vivacious appetite, though never going so far as to brand her love for noodles or pizza.  

So why is a horror website taking such an interest in an action flick? Well, The Witch 2 is so much more than just your average shoot ’em up. Girl has special Carrie or Eleven-like abilities that she uses to stop time, blow limbs clean off, and create whirlwinds that make the kills in The Witch 2 a gory jaw-dropping sight to behold. Plus, aren’t we all in need of a “witches as super-soldiers” plot in our life? I think it’s about time for this archaic persecuting label to change to one of empowerment, and I think that’s what is idyllic about Hoon-jung’s perspective change in these films. Girl is hunted, singled out, and made to feel different yet rises above it using her talents instead of becoming oppressed, even though it isn’t without overcoming its own tragedies.  

When compared to the first film, I found The Witch 2: The Other One didn’t stray too far from specific beats in The Witch: Subversion, yet there was a bit of a divide in its pace. Both films are over two hours and interweave drama with violence, yet The Witch 2 feels slightly slower than the previous effort. The heavy CGI effects in both films aren’t mixed unnoticeably. They generally look like effects packs you may have seen advertised online, but how the effects department utilizes, blends, and shades the effects makes a lot of difference. They’re detailed, fast, and, when combined with some apt direction and extraordinary choreography, they make the film feel worthy of summer blockbuster appeal.  

Two militant figures shooting guns in opposing directions in The Witch Part 2: The Other One
Image Courtesy of Well Go USA

I am such a huge fan of Park Hoon-jung’s work on I Saw the Devil that I would follow him and that film’s director, Jee-woon Kim, blindly into any film. Hoon-jung’s The Witch movies aren’t exactly the most original films to come out of Korea, but they are enjoyable and action-packed suspense thrillers. Seeing the title pop up on the list for Fantasia was like finding out there was a new Fast and the Furious film. You know what you’re going to get and have no reservations about it. The action is insanely over-the-top, styled like an Avengers film, filled with competing factions of evildoers looking to take down our hero. In summation, they’re a popcorn-popping action lover’s delight. I kind of hope, like Fast and the Furious, they make ten more of these movies. Its ending alludes to, at the very least, a trilogy arc. 

The Witch 2: The Other One is an entertaining film full of fast-paced, kick-ass action sequences from an incredible director who knows how to make an action film and who we’ll likely see tapped by Hollywood studios in the near future. Park Hoon-jung has an eye for incredible sequences, and The Witch films are high-octane gems that more people deserve to see.  

The Witch 2: The Other One played as part of the Fantasia International Film Festival on July 29.  

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Written by Sean Parker

Living just outside of Boston, Sean has always been facinated by what horror can tell us about contemporary society. He started writing music reviews for a local newspaper in his twenties and found a love for the art of thematic and symbolic analysis. Sean joined Horror Obsessive at it's inception, and is currently the site's Creative Director. He produces and edits the weekly Horror Obsessive podcast for the site as well as his interviews with guests. He has recently started his foray into feature film production as well, his credits include Alice Maio Mackay's Bad Girl Boogey, Michelle Iannantuono's Livescreamers, and Ricky Glore's upcoming Troma picture, Sweet Meats.

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