Kim Suni (Lee Young-lan) is now old and gray but got married, had kids, and lived her life to the fullest when she was younger. She currently spends her days winding down and enjoying the company of her family. A phone call she receives one day changes everything as it calls her back to Korea to a cottage in the country where she grew up. Nearly 50 years ago, a young Suni (Park Bo-young) and her family discover a boy in the barn behind a locked door who can't talk and acts like an animal; a depressed Suni bonds with him while the family takes him in and names him Cheol-su (Song Joong-ki). Cheol-su's savage nature eventually gets the best of him and his primal and inhuman instinct is unleashed when Suni is thrown in harm's way.
The fantasy and romance aspects of "A Werewolf Boy" are well covered as discovering a strange creature living in someone's house who the family eventually takes a liking to is bizarre to consider yet easy to relate to. Compassion is a feeling "A Werewolf Boy" takes pride in making not only the viewer feel on a consistent basis, but its characters as well. The relationship between Suni and Cheol-su is also a bit awkward as you can probably imagine, but it results in feeling like "Beauty and the Beast" by the time it's over.
The werewolf part of "A Werewolf Boy" is where things get tricky. While Cheol-su has werewolf traits, he doesn't really have much in common with them. There's one brief scene where he howls at the moon and all of his transformations are at night, but a full moon doesn't affect him one way or the other and he only transforms when he gets angry. He's more or less a hairy version of "The Incredible Hulk." Cheol-su is super strong and is absolutely feral by nature, but also extremely gentle and obedient around Suni. His transformation looks to be all computer generated and similar to what the transformations looked like in "The Wolfman" remake from a few years ago. The odd thing is his clothes never rip or tear while nearly all of his hair seems to be on his head and makes him seem top heavy.
Ji-tae (Yoo Yeon-seok) is the character who will get under your skin the most. A young boy who fell into money because of his father, Ji-tae buys the cottage for Suni and her family but holds it over their heads the entire film and expects Suni to marry him in the future. Demanding respect despite acting poorly, Ji-tae throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way and is extremely spoiled. Naturally, he hates Cheol-su right from the start and contributes to the small village treating Cheol-su like a monster. Ji-tae does nothing other than stir the pot to try and get his way.
The film throws the viewer into the struggle of figuring out whether Cheol-su is a monster or not. Even though Ji-tae gets away with way more than he should for the first hour and a half and Suni doesn't really fully let her guard down until it's too late, the last half hour of "A Werewolf Boy" is absolutely phenomenal. The film really starts to aim at your emotions around the time Cheol-su and Suni have a heart to heart in the forest, but once you come back to the present and what the elderly Suni discovers in Cheol-su's room is superb. The sequence is extremely touching, emotional, and breathtaking. The entire film builds to that moment and it pays off in spades.
"A Werewolf Boy" is essentially a South Korean take on "Twilight," but with a werewolf who’s had its origins diluted and saturated. The staggering sense of compassion that the film portrays is amazing and its heartfelt ending is stunning. Even though it may draw comparisons to "Twilight," "A Werewolf Boy" has a more genuine demeanor with well-developed characters and an overpowering sense of benevolence.
Special features on the single-disc DVD release include a "Making of" featurette that's nearly an hour long, over 11 minutes of Deleted Scenes with and without commentary, the nearly nine minute "The Language of Cheol-su," a "Poster Shoot" that runs a little over four minutes, and an Alternate Ending. Other than the deleted scenes, unfortunately none of the other special features are subtitled. The alternate ending looks to be quite similar only its shot with Park Bo-young instead of Lee Young-lan.
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