Comparison between the Theatrical Version (included on Splendid's German Blu-ray) and the Final Cut (included on CJ E&M's Korean Blu-ray, Disc 2).
International and Korean Releases of DELIVER US FROM EVIL
For several years now, South Korean cinema has known how to thrill not only die-hard Asia fans with high-quality, multi-layered thrillers. In addition to Oldboy and Parasite, among others, A Bittersweet Life and I Saw the Devil are sure to come to our readers' minds, as there were various film versions to discover. With Deliver Us From Evil, another title was created in 2020 that follows this tradition. Here, a professional killer gets caught between the fronts while searching for a little girl and becomes the hunted himself.
The film was first released in its home country in August 2020 and was surprisingly successful. This resulted in a special distribution strategy, as audiences were lured back to theaters at the end of October with the promise of a new "Final Cut." The Korean release had changed for this from "from 15" to "19+", which already indicated that censorship measures were undertaken for the first theatrical version. By the way: In Korea, you are not considered of age until you are 19. At the time, Korean media reported that just under 50 seconds of violence had made the difference for the more lucrative, lower age rating (see IMDb). The Final Cut, on the other hand, even runs 6 minutes longer.
The German Blu-ray was probably the first worldwide in January 2021, while in Korea only a DVD had been released shortly before. In the UK, the film was released around this time as VOD in HD on e.g. Amazon and in the U.S. a Blu-ray will follow on May 25, 2021. In all these international options, however, only the (first) Theatrical Version is included, not the Final Cut. In the run-up to the German Blu-ray, we had also inquired about this with the German rights holder Splendid and received the info that the licensor was definitely asked for the longer version. However, they said that this version was exclusively intended for the domestic Korean market.
DELIVER US FROM EVIL - Only Korea has the uncensored Final Cut
At quite short notice, a limited edition Blu-ray was finally announced in South Korea in March 2021. According to Yesasia, it is available since April 07, in purely Korean stores you got it a few days earlier. The most interesting thing about it is that disc 2 contains the coveted final cut with English subtitles. As you could read before, it runs about 6 minutes longer. So on the one hand, there's more material than the aforementioned 50 seconds of cuts, but on the other hand, it turns out to be a bit of a cheat: more than a minute of it is due to slowed-down credits.
Overall, the censorship cuts are relatively unspectacular. Similar to American MPA ratings, the examiners were often probably only interested in taking some intensity out of the scenes. Torture moments are sometimes only a few frames longer to see or there are 1-2 more blows, without the scene itself being really noticeably harder. Towards the end, a longer scene stands out here, because the Theatrical Version withheld a complete section from the fighting in the stairwell. All in all, there is without question a bit more violence here, but the material still turns out comparatively tame for international viewing habits and never comes close to the intensity of, for example, the aforementioned I Saw the Devil. Whoever expects a brutal carnage will not get it in the longer version, either. After all, censorship-related differences actually add up to the 50 seconds that we could read about in advance.
In terms of plot extensions, the most noticeable thing is that mother and daughter get a few additional scenes at the start of the film. This makes perfect sense, since the family construct is only roughly introduced in the Theatrical Version. The transgender character portrayed by Park Jung-min also has a few new moments, though hardly any of it is really of substance. Main character In-nam also gets more screentime in various small scenes, especially a few quiet moments. In this area, too, one can say: it's material that is useful in itself, but by no means changes the direction of the film to any great extent.
The Final Cut is therefore a double-edged sword. Those who have the choice will get the somewhat more rounded and ultimately preferable film version. Due to the limited international availability, many interested parties will have to settle for the regular (first) Theatrical Version anyway - and it's not a bad choice in the end. The differences, especially on the censorship front, are by no means as serious as the jump in the Korean age rating would lead one to expect. There were also hardly any profound changes in terms of content. Thus, it's not really surprising that director Hong Won-Chan is said to have been satisfied with the Theatrical Version as well.
Runtimes are ordered as follows: Theatrical Version on German Blu-ray / Final Cut on Korean Blu-ray
The German Blu-ray has two more Splendid/Amasia logos for starters. This explains the additional runtime difference of the Theatrical Version to various releases abroad, including Korea.
Not included in cut duration/quantity.
02:45 / 02:29-02:34
In an additional shot, the killer (In-nam) slits the throat of a victim on the ground and walks away to the side.
The shot immediately following this was mirrored. So the movement in the Final Cut (= FC) matches the additional shot directly before it.
Additional footage in the Theatrical Version.
02:47-02:50 / 02:35
For this, the Theatrical Version (= Theatrical Version) has a shot from the same perspective directly after, but with In-nam already out of frame.
+ 3.2 sec
The title insert two minutes later differs. According to the English subtitle of the Korean Blu-ray, "Final Cut" can be read here in addition to the international title.
08:24 / 08:09-08:24
The Final Cut has a first scene in the apartment: little Yoo-min is jumping around in bed. Mother Young-joo comes to her and braids her hair a bit.
In the Theatrical Version, the follow up shot in the hallway comes a few insignificant frames earlier (not illustrated).
Final Cut 15.1 sec longer
08:37 / 08:37-09:50
Yoo-min still goes to the front of the birdcage and asks what she should wear today. Young-joo is still on the phone discussing how to proceed with the documents. While doing so, they also say that Vivi wouldn't eat anything. Outside, Yoo-min then greets Vivi, a neighbor, who drives up in another car. Yoo-min now asks Young-joo why Vivi would be living alone, which brings her back to her own family situation. Young-joo therefore reassuringly explains that she and Yoo-min's dad would live somewhat apart, but that he would always be with Yoo-min in his thoughts.
73.3 sec (= 1:13 min)
18:53 / 20:06-20:22
In-nam is sitting alone in the car, pensive. The traffic light changes from red to green and someone behind him honks.
Alternative / Additional footage in Theatrical Version.
19:09-19:33 / 20:38-21:11
Part of the conversation proceeds alternatively. Young-joo's shots are identical, but the re-cuts to In-nam differ. He says so slightly differently that he wanted to stop by again before flying away instead of going away (= "flying out", instead of "going abroad" in the Theatrical Version). Lastly, moreover, he only asks in the Final Cut if she would come along.
Final Cut 8,6 sec longer
22:08 / 23:46-23:59
In a short additional shot, In-nam walks to the door.
33:57 / 35:48-35:56
After the first shot of Shimida being strangled in the car, this one goes for a quick lap.
34:00 / 36:00-36:02
The shot from above is a little longer.
34:25-34:26 / 36:26-36:28
In the Final Cut, Shimida's fingers are waved around a bit longer with the garden shears.
The Theatrical Version shows the follow-up shot insignificantly earlier (not illustrated).
Final Cut 1.1 sec longer.
36:01 / 38:03-38:05
Ray leaves the car for a moment longer.
36:04 / 38:08-38:10
The follow up shot of the rattling Shimida is also a little longer.
36:11 / 38:17-38:20
Ray is a little longer in front of the car.
38:52 / 41:02-41:06
At the end of the shot, as well as at the beginning of the follow up shot, there is more stabbing.
41:23 / 43:37-43:38
Again, the garden shears are applied to the finger a little longer. The follow up shot also a few frames earlier.
Alternative / Additional footage in Theatrical Version.
44:24-44:38 / 46:39-47:16
Yui's song is shown a bit longer with alternate footage.
Final Cut 23.7 sec longer.
44:45 / 47:23-47:25
The last shot of the audience also insignificantly longer.
47:16-47:17 / 49:56-50:08
Yui walks longer through the restaurant in the Final Cut.
In the Theatrical Version, the follow up shot of In-nam at the counter comes insignificantly earlier (not illustrated).
Final Cut 10.9 sec longer.
49:45 / 52:36-52:39
The trio a little earlier in the back.
50:02-50:03 / 52:56-53:10
In the Final Cut, our trio gets out and walks across the street to the stair entrance. Yui trots along behind In-nam a bit anxiously as they do so.
In the Theatrical Version, the follow up shot of the stairs from above comes insignificantly earlier (not illustrated).
Final Cut 13.3 sec longer
62:25 / 65:32-65:44
Ray is walking around the room at the end of the shot, reaching for a liquor bottle.
75:38 / 78:57-79:09
In-nam sits down next to Yoo-min, who is asleep on the bed, and puts the gun on his lap.
79:53 / 83:24-83:52
In-nam walks with Yoo-min into a side alley. He then pokes at his noodles a bit in a restaurant. She eats nothing, so he leaves his plate too.
89:20 / 93:19-93:55
In-nam takes a few more steps up in the same shot. On the next floor, he has to fight off more attackers, who he cuts down mostly with bloody knife blows. He catches his breath briefly and turns the corner - this is where the Theatrical Version kicks in mid-shot.
The beginning of the credits runs at identical speed. Starting with the cast credits, however, the Theatrical Version goes a bit faster, which explains the additional runtime difference (with otherwise identical credits).
Final Cut 83.5 sec (= 1:23 min) longer