Focus on the South Korean movie industry has increased drastically since ‘Parasite.’ While the country has been known to produce some great films, Bong Joon-Ho‘s Oscar victory certainly pushes the Asian nation’s film industry back to prominence. ‘The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion’ is a mystery action movie that also showcases the nuance and maturity of South Korean cinema.
The film can be considered to be a superhero movie, although that would only be a very rough categorization. It is directed by Park Hoon-jung and stars Kim Da-mi in the lead role, apart from Jo-Min-su, Choi Woo-shik, and Park Hee-soon. Woo-shik is also a notable cast member of ‘Parasite,’ and ‘Train to Busan.’
The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion Plot Summary:
A man named Choi and a woman named Dr. Baek or “The Professor” attempt to find a girl after a mysteriously violent event. Choi has a head injury given to him by the girl. A couple in a village finds a badly hurt girl and takes her in. The girl has no memory of her past. The couple raises the girl, Ja-yoon as their own daughter lovingly.
The story jumps ten years into the future. Ja-yoon is depicted to be having intense bouts of migraines from time to time and a strange mark on her back. Her mother is depicted to be suffering from dementia. However, Ja-yoon performs exceptionally well in her class and also has a talent for singing. Her best friend, Myung-hee convinces her to take part in a reality singing competition show.
During her auditions, she showcases her telekinetic powers. A boy around her age, Nobleman tries to talk to her on the train, but Ja-yoon does not remember him. Another man also wishes to speak to her privately. One day, this man, with his henchmen breaks into Ja-yoon’s home. Ja-yoon had apparently given him a scar in the past. Ja-yoon doesn’t remember but kills the men when Myung-hee’s life is threatened. After that, Nobleman and a gang of his friends enter the house. They ask Ja-yoon to come with them if she wants to know about her past.
Dr. Baek fires Choi. Choi finds a bunch of other men to support him since he wants to go after Ja-yoon. Apparently, he has a medical condition that can only be reversed using Ja-yoon somehow.
Ja-yoon is taken to a laboratory where Dr. Baek is present. Nobleman had been working with Dr. Baek. Ja-yoon is tied to a chair and a chemical is injected in her body. Apparently, Ja-Yoon had been the finest “creation” of a government-approved scientific experiment. Dr. Baek, a brain specialist had genetically modified her to be more violent. That is how she had developed her powers. Dr. Baek tells the Professor that the HQ wanted to kill her since she was too powerful to be controlled.
However, Dr. Baek injects Ja-yoon with another chemical that allows her to use 100% of her brain’s power. She tells Ja-yoon that her migraines are a result of her condition. She is told that the migraines would eventually end up killing her if she doesn’t get injected with the chemical once a month. However, Ja-Yoon uses her full powers to break free, escape the room through the ceiling and enter Dr. Baek’s room. She starts attacking Dr. Baek as she wants the chemical. Choi enters the facility and his men engage in a fight with Nobleman’s gang.
Ja-Yoon starts to fight Nobleman. Ja-Yoon kills Dr. Baek and Choi. It also seems as if she kills Nobleman. She gets a few shots of the chemical and leaves. She gives 8 injections to her father, asking him to inject it to her mother once a month. That would cure her dementia. In the end, she goes to the home of Dr. Baek’s sister. Dr. Baek’s sister gives her a few more injections of the chemical but Ja-yoon tells her that she wants a permanent solution. Towards the end, a girl with a scar stands next to Ja-yoon. Ja-yoon warns her to not attack.
The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion Ending Explained:
Several viewers would have wondered what the ending of ‘The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion’ implies. It is certainly slightly open-ended and would have left several viewers with a ton of questions. Firstly, who is the girl? Why does she threaten to attack Ja-yoon?
To begin with, it ought to be known that the ending is purposely left open-ended. The intent is to keep viewers curious about the second part. The first movie, after all, also hinges on tons of mystery. Hence, a lot of the explanation of the ending is based on theories and not confirmed facts.
Moving on, Dr. Baek’s sister does appear to be “good” at first. However, Ja-yoon is certainly not trusting her. She does not want the injections that she offers because she knows that it is a way of controlling her. That had been Dr. Baek’s plan as well: to give Ja-yoon just one injection each month so that she would have to keep her (Dr. Baek) alive and return to her regularly. However, Ja-yoon wants a permanent solution so that she can be set free.
The permanent solution involves a bone marrow transplant from Ja-yoon’s biological mother. One fan theory suggests that Dr. Baek’s sister could be Ja-yoon’s biological mother. That is the reason she (Dr. Baek’s sister) might not want to cooperate with Ja-yoon. However, there is no way of knowing that that is the case. The girl towards the end appears to be another person “created” by the government experiment. The scar on her face suggests that Ja-yoon might have fought with her in the past. Either way, it points to the fact that Ja-yoon still has tons of enemies to face.
What Was Ja-yoon’s Plan?
The most shocking revelation of the movie was certainly Ja-yoon’s plan. It is revealed that she hadn’t actually lost her memory. So why was she pretending?
Well, that had been Ja-yoon’s plan throughout. She had searched for a couple who would take her in and purposely appeared near their house. She had displayed her power on the reality show so that Dr. Baek would find her. Dr. Baek had been trying to kill her when she had been a child. However, Ja-yoon wanted Dr. Baek to use the chemical (which would let her use 100% of her brain’s powers) in order to attempt and control her. This is because she wanted to use the chemical to survive.
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