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Hwayi: A Monster Boy

2013 2h 6m Mystery & Thriller Action List
Reviews 76% Audience Score 50+ Ratings
The 16-year-old Yeo Jin Gu takes on the eponymous role of Hwayi, a boy who was kidnapped as an infant and raised in isolation by five notorious criminals. Read More Read Less

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Hwayi: A Monster Boy

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Critics Reviews

View All (1) Critics Reviews
Anton Bitel Sight & Sound [in] the long-awaited return of director Jang Joon-hwan (Save the Green Planet!, 2003),...Hwa-yi's clothes express visually his longing for the normal childhood that has been taken from him. Jan 2, 2015 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (12) audience reviews
Corey J I love it. don't even remember how i found it but its one of those movies i re watched just because i want the drama while knowing it has a good ending. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 12/23/23 Full Review allie a Despite its basic cinematic errors, the film is able to establish a strong narrative. The story line escalates in a way that supports the intense psychological state of the characters. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 10/14/23 Full Review Audience Member Good plot, a kid growing up with bad guys, yet it lacked thrilling scenes that could showcase this good storyline. Still for its weird story, i sticked to the end. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review troy k Another great South Korean revenge flick. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review jesse o As I've always said, South Korea is the land of 1000 revenge thrillers. There's seriously so many of these movies out there that it's getting hard to distinguish between the ones that are several levels down from the truly elite thrillers like The Chaser, The Trilogy of Vengeance, I Saw the Devil, The Yellow Sea, among others. This is one I would say is at a level below those films I just mentioned and it's highly likely that, again, this will just blend in with many of the others not so great revenge thrillers from South Korea I've seen. With that said, I still thought this movie was actually pretty good. It's not gonna set the world on fire, but I liked the dynamic of Hwayi being kidnapped and raised by this gang, since he was 4 or 5, and how the gang themselves act as his fathers, even if they're people who do despicable things, for the most part, they try to do right for their 'son' and raise him the right way. Of course, however, there's some members of the gang, the leader, whose name escapes me right now, who wants him to take a more active role in their criminal activities. What I liked is how Hwayi sort of fights back against being forced into the gang's criminal activities, it doesn't sound great, and it really isn't, but I thought it was well-done, just sort of seeing that struggle with what his "family" wants him to be versus what he really wants. Hwayi, also throughout the film, is haunted by this monster, only in his mind, and trying to get rid of it is one of the major themes of the film, and how he very much wishes to get rid of it. The metaphor is a fairly obvious one. To get rid of the monster, you have to become the monster. It's not exactly subtle, but I think it gets the job done in showing just much the gang has pushed Hwayi to become this monster and how he rejects that and fights back against his "fathers" for making him this way. Again, it's not subtle, but it gets the job done. Another thing that is used is how Hwayi killed his biological father and how his biological mother is now being hunted down by hitmen. This is when the movie gets a little heavy on the drama. I don't know if I would call it melodramatic, but it does rely on more hammy acting, at least from the lead, than at any point in the film prior to that. These aspects of the film didn't do much for me and its tone is way too self-serious, but it's not as bad as it would've been in other films. The film is quite bloody and the action sequences that are there are actually quite good. Not super memorable or anything, but they're good nonetheless. The acting is pretty strong, outside of some overacting in the third act, so I can't really complain much. With that said, this isn't a perfect movie. It's got its flaws and I just didn't really get a sense that the "fathers" in question really had any sort of attachment to Hwayi. They told you they did, but they didn't really show it. Not a lot of time is really spent with Hwayi bonding with his "fathers", so it was hard to buy into that part of the film. It just didn't really work for me, in the slightest. But, as mentioned, this is still a pretty good movie if you can overlook some of its bigger flaws. Not flawless, but this is a perfectly enjoyable revenge thriller. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Very interesting movie...intense, dark, brooding, bloody, violent and unpredictable. It draws you in and the tension builds to the very end. There are so many emotional twists and turns that you never really know what's going to happen next. Great story, GREAT acting, great movie. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Hwayi: A Monster Boy

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis The 16-year-old Yeo Jin Gu takes on the eponymous role of Hwayi, a boy who was kidnapped as an infant and raised in isolation by five notorious criminals.
Jang Joon-hwan
Lee Chang-dong, Lee Jun-dong
Park Joo-Suk
Production Co
NOW Films, Pine House Film
Mystery & Thriller, Action
Original Language
Release Date (Streaming)
Nov 5, 2016
2h 6m
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