Premise. A ghost appears to randomly selected person and intones when they will die and go to hell. At the appointed reckoning day and time, 3 hulking black Hellbound demons appear and kill the person; first by applying physical force, then incinerating the person leaving a black caraccas.
Synopsis. The 6-episode 2021 kdrama based on the webtoon developed by Director Yeon Sang Ho and Writer Choi Gyu Seok. The kdrama boils down the 55-episode webtoon into two parts.
Part 1 (Episodes 1-3). A man starts a church to interpret what being Hellbound means. He toils unnoticed until the reckonings go viral. People clamor for his opinion. The pastor declares a new world is being born; one where sin will be directly punished by god as mankind’s judgement is oft uneven, unfair, or ineffective.
Part 2 (Episodes 4-6). It’s a new world. The first pastor has been succeeded and the Hellbound church has great power and influence. One family can change everything. They seek help from an organization that fights against the church’s stance that those selected are evil individuals, creating shame, fear, and the need to keep selection a secret.
What I Liked
Pastor 1, Jung Jin Soo (Yoo Ah In). I watched this series for Yoo An In, one in my core cadre (favored male stars). Yoo Ah In didn’t disappoint. Soft spoken one moment, on the edge of sanity the next, Pastor Jung was a charismatic man with vision and purpose. His willingness to manipulate a teenager was chilling. Pastor Jung created a cult, wielded power and influence, often in frightening ways. He even picked his successor to continue his work and expand the power base. Style nitpick – his hairstyle make me want to hand him a comb.
The concept. The Hellbound demons could not be bargained with. Reckoning could not be avoided. You were going to be sizzled after taking a beating. There was no rhyme or reason why a person was selected. The church offered guidance while stoking fears, then leveraged it for power. The church gained fame because of the Hellbound demons; and made maintenance of monetary gains, political power, and emotional hold on the public their top priority. Stopping them and their rabid followers wasn’t easy.
High Profile Victim 1. Pastor Jung gained notoriety through the first public selectee, a single mother with two young children. She only cared about protecting her children during the media onslaught and after she was gone. Her focus and determination to face a frightening terrible situation with dignity was key to part 1.
What I Did Not Like
Plot Holes. The setup was intriguing and drew you in. But there were times when the plot defied logic and Director Yeon and Writer Choi’s decisions were questionable. Reportedly, the kdrama followed the webtoon story faithfully except for the ending.
Black light YouTuber. Fear mongering inciter that I would have preferred to be featured in smaller doses.
Would I Recommend Hellbound?
Yes. It was good, not great, with flaws. I’ll remember the concept. Part 1 was stronger, with several gripping moments. Pastor Jung was more compelling that his successor. Director Yeon and Writer Choi deliberately choose to end the kdrama drama differently than the webtoon. It leaves the door open for a second season of the webtoon, that Director Yeon and Writer Yeon plan to create and release. The kdrama second season is not guaranteed.