Herapurple: Devil Goddess

on August 01, 2008 by Tim Cogshell
Based on a traditional Korean myth, "Herapurple: Devil Goddess" runs the gamut from psychological drama to mystery thriller to mystical horror film. Mostly, it's just confusing and creepy.

The legend of the Goddess Hera involves a scorned woman who comes back from the dead to take revenge on the men who violated her. For those unacquainted with Asiatic lore (i.e., the Western Hemisphere), it's kinda like the vengeance demon in TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

"Herapurple" centers on a series of bizarre murders: Young men are found disemboweled, Devil Goddess-style. Lee Hye-Rim (Chang Kim) is a middle-aged woman having recurring nightmares. She seeks the help of a psychologist (Se-Chang Lee) who puts her under hypnosis to get to the source of her issues. The doctor discovers that Hye-Rim was raped as a young girl and is seeking revenge by murdering those responsible through her dreams. Or...is she actually morphing into the Goddess Hera and ripping the guts out of men all over town, then marking them with a cryptic code? It's one or the other, but even by the end of the movie, it's still hard to say.

The reason it's impossible to decipher what exactly is going on in "Herapurple: Devil Goddess" may have to do with the nature of the legend itself. Korean myths of this sort are not unlike those found in a good deal of Japanese anime films, which often involve densely woven themes and a myriad of possible manifestations of demons and or spirits. Or it could just be bad filmmaking. In either case, the elements here--thriller, mystery, psychological drama, horror--are just too disparate to bother trying to figure it out. Starring Se-Chang Lee, Chang Kim, Ho-Seong Lee, Jun-Bae Eom and Seok-Cheon Hong. Directed and written by Kil-Chae Jeong. Produced by Kil-Chae Jeong. A Pathfinder release. Drama/Thriller/Horror. Korean-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 91 min.

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