For the Korean version of the controversial revenge-thriller "I Saw the Devil", director Jee-won Kim had to alternate the movie in order to be able to get it released. Finally, after his thrid edit the Korea Media Rating Board agreed with the cut of the movie; finally, the movie was allowed to hit the Korean theatres. Most of the scenes that were cut out included pretty explicit references to cannibalism (which is not completely absent in the Korean version but mentioned rather subtly) or explicit violence.
What is especially conspicious is the fact that the Korean version (which one would assume to be shorter) is 2 minutes longer than the international release. For the release of his unedited favored version Jee-won Kim took the opportunity to edit the shortened theatrical version's cut to edit out any scenes that (in his opinion) affected the movie's flow or were plain and simple unnecessary for the plot.
However, one doesn't necessarily have to share his opinion on that for every single edit. Viewers might be irritated by Soo-hyeon's easiness in finding the respective main suspects - the Korean version shows, that the police officers already have them in their sight and that the secret agent uses the police's investigatory work to find the suspects. Many fans also miss the harsh sex-scene between Kyung-Chul (the killer) and his cannibal-friend's girlfriend because it underlines the character's madness.
Even though the international release is the director's favored version this doesn't mean that it necessarily is the better one. Therefore, we recommend checking out both versions.
14 extended scenes in the international version = 3 min. 20 sec.
15 extended scenes in the Korean theatrical version = 5 min. 37 sec.
3 alternative Sequences
Kyung-Chul picks Yoo-yeon's severed arm up and then throws it into a basket which is already filled with parts of dead bodies. Then he turns back to his victim.
Inside the parking ramp Soo-hyeon's colleague at first approaches the car, shortly looks through the co-driver's window, and then gets in. At first he hands Soo-hyeon the GPS-transmitter's receiver and then gets the transmitter out of his pocket.
Two of the police officers from Chief Oh's unit interrogate naub suspect number one from their car. One of them finds fault with the suspect not moving a muscle while the other officer sits in the back and eats some noodles. Chief Oh calls them and probably wants to have a sitrep. Meanwhile, Soo-hyeon intercepts the phone call. Then he gets out of his car.
A short additional close-up shot of the screen that shows a porno movie while main suspect number 1 masturbates in the background.
Chief Oh gets out of the elevator of his apartment block and goes to his apartment unit while (via cellphone) yelling at one of his men for letting Kyung-Chul slip away despite the observations. When he arrives in front of his door he hangs up, rings the doorbell, and immediately calls someone else; meanwhile a girl (probably his daughter) opens the door and pretty impassively passes him. Subsequently, Chief Oh flounders a little when he tries to find out while the girl wants to "learn with a friend"; at the same time he tries to explain to a woman who's looking out of her front door that he only wants to pick up some spare clothes; he adds that he doesn't want to move out. During this conversation he ALSO has to tell the person on the phone that he momentarily is not talking to him.
At the same time the international version instead shows a short panning shot of the greenhouse where Kyung-Chul and the kidnapped girl are located.
At first, the shot of Kyung-Chul blandly staring at the doctor's assistant who's standing at the door is placed inbetween the closing of the door (in the Korean version you see this shot after the door was shut).
Additionally, you see the woman closing the door all the way. After that, Kyung-Chul turns back to the doctor and continues shouting at him; he also threatens him with violence.
25 sec. (insg.)
When Kyung-Chul's sinew is cut through, the order of the scenes is slightly different and the scene itself is more violent than the Korean version's cut. Kyung-Chul bends forward a little earlier (he screams). / Soo-hyeon continues to stab the heel and slowly pulls scalpel towards the sinew; blood starts to flow. / An additional shot of Kyung-Chul screaming in pain. / Soo-hyeon completely cuts through the sinew and you see a longer close-up shot of the bloody foot. / An additional shot of Soo-hyeon holding Kyung-Chul's leg in his hand which is bathed in blood.
The Korean version instead shows a short and bloodless alternative shot of Soo-hyeon cutting through the heel. / Kyung-Chul slowly bends forwards and screams in pain. / Then follows the complete sectioning of the sinew.(5.5 sec.). Subsequently the Korean version immediately turns to the last shot of Kyung-Chul screamin in pain.
The cannibal throws a bag as well as a trolley bag into the fire and then closes the oven's door.
The cannibal feeds the dogs inside the kennel with a piece of human flesh. The dogs immediately start to fight over it.
A close-up shot of the cannibal putting some human flesh in his mouth. Then he turns to Kyung-Chul while chewing on it.
Soo-hyeon stops the car midway through is way to the hotel, stops the engine and gets out. Without a driver the car slowly rolls down the precipitous road.
At this point the international version instead shows a conversation between Kyung-Chul and the cannibal. The former disparagingly asks his buddy if he still isn't full. The cannibal replies that he can't get enough of (human) flesh and that once you tried human flesh you would never want to eat anything else ever again.
After Kyung-Chul silently commented on that with "Crazy bastard." the cannibal angrily asks Kyung-Chul if he said something. Kyung-Chul looks back at him with a vacabt expression and replies that he always snaps when he eats human flesh. He reminds the cannibal who he's talking with and that he should better watch out. The cannibal looks at him a little longer; both him and his girlfriend seem to be a little nervous. Then he suddenly laughs and a tear runs out of his eye; he bears Kyung-Chul out and adds that all the excitement makes him cry. His girlfriend is relieved; Kyung-Chul makes another snide remark and then gets up a little earlier (the scene where he moves away from the table is also included in the Korean version).
The cannibal's dialogue is a little longer.
The shot of the cannibal starts a little earlier.
Kyung-Chul shortly watches the cannibal's girlfriend cleaning the kitchen; suddenly he lashes into her to have sex with her. In between there's a cut to Soo-hyeong sneaking around the woods. Back to the coitus; at first it seems like Kyung-Chul is raping the girl, however, after a few moments later she really seems to enjoy it, too. The cannibal is sitting around in a different room and grinds his knife. The noise from the other room makes him grin. Kyung-Chul tries to shut her mouth and apprehensively looks towards his buddy from time to time.
After Kyung-Chul finally climaxed he soon pushes the girl away, puts his pants back on, and leaves the kitchen.
Subsequently follows a shot of the hotel's terrace which Soo-hyeon strolls along. In the international version, this shot is included a little later.
At this point, the international version instead shows a close-up shot of Kyung-Chul lighting a cigarrette a little earlier; he takes a deep drag(2.5 sec.).
Addditionally, the following shot of the killer lying on the sofa and smoking is shown in an alternative take in both versions.
The cannibal walks along a hallway, then truns to a passage and holsters his knife.
The international version isntead shows the cannibal opening a huge freezer which includes a lot of parts of dead bodies. He quickly takes a look around and then gets worked up over the fact that all the "good" parts (e.g. guts) are already gone. Then he closes the door and leaves the room.
The shot of the cannibal's way back starts a little earlier.
Kyung-Chul holds the tracking device in his hand a little longer.
Chief Jang is hit in the face with a dumbbell for a third time; blood splashes and the victim turns his head to the side.
The shot of sad-eyed Soo-hyeon begins earlier.
The disheveled Chief Jang smiles at Soo-hyeon a little longer.
The forst shot of the car ride (POV shot of the car) begins a little earlier.
Same goes for the second shot of that kind.
Kyung-Chul begs for his life a little longer. Additionally, the following shot of Soo-hyeon begins earlier - he looks at something with a black look and then puts his hand in front of his mouth.
Again, Kyung-Chul begs Soo-hyeon to let him live. The following shot (a little closer)of the 2 enemies starts a little earlier, too.
The Korean version at first shows a more distant shot of Kyung-Chul cursing; then follows a cut to a close-up shot of the tracking device in front of him. The international version shows an alternative zoomed shot. Additionally it offers a tracking shot of the tracking device.
No difference in time.
Kyung-Chul's head is tossed through the room; blood splashes out of the stump of the neck.