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Flower of Evil (2020) – English Review

A true masterpiece in the melodrama thriller genre.

Warning: This review contains some small spoilers. It’s a long review because I have rarely experienced such intense emotions while watching a movie or TV series. This is one of the best and most intense emotional romantic drama-thrillers I have ever watched.

A man who is married to a police detective has a twisted secret that will soon be revealed after a serial killer from the past starts killing again. He has a child with this police detective, and they are a happy family. But this illusion will soon shatter into a thousand pieces because the husband is emotionally damaged and cannot feel regular human emotions. He is faking it.

“Flower of Evil” consists of 16 episodes. This is a romantic drama thriller that hooked me from start to finish. I’m not the kind of person who binge-watches series, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the next episode. I had to watch the last five episodes in one sitting because I was so hooked. I now understand what they mean about the South Korean series addiction.

I am a veteran when it comes to South Korean movies, but I have never been that interested in South Korean series because I find that watching series takes a lot of time. I could spend that time catching up with movies I haven’t watched yet. But because of “Flower of Evil”, I now have a bunch of South Korean series that I need to watch. I have grown tired of watching Western movies and TV series, so you can say I’m home again. I’d rather watch a great TV series than ten mediocre movies.

The reason “Flower of Evil” spellbound me is because of the love story. I know that many will watch this series because of the serial killer mystery, and I expect that many will also believe that there are a lot of murders here. But no, there aren’t. The series has a lot of suspense, but the suspense is built around the husband who’s trying to figure out who the serial killer is while hiding his past from his police detective wife who is closing in on his secret. This is so suspenseful, and since you will love these two characters, you will get emotionally connected to them. I can tell you that I felt so sad when the series ended. I wanted to follow these two forever and ever, and that is the first time I have experienced that feeling. The acting and chemistry between the married couple are so good. The story is so sad and engaging. You want the married couple to find peace. The husband has lived a hard life, and his wife only wants him to be happy. She doesn’t deserve to live like this either. It’s so hard to witness, but at the same time suspenseful when the wife gets closer to the truth. What will she do when she finds out the truth? Bring out her handcuffs or stand by her man?

The foundation of the series is the love story between a man who is broken and lies about his identity, and his wife, the cutest police detective ever. She soon discovers that he is hiding something, and she acts like his mother from the first time she meets him. She is so aggressive and decides early on that he is the man in her life. It’s so cute when she tells him that she will be good to him. Where do you find a woman like that? Listen to this when she finally convinces him that they are meant to be together forever and ever:

You don’t see yourself the way I see you.

Let me love you from now on.

I’ll be good to you.

I’ll teach you everything you don’t know.

Then, all of a sudden, everything may just change before you know it.

It’s so bizarre because she is just too attractive and sees the man she’s going to marry as a project that needs to be fixed. She is that typical mother figure who is hot and loves to handcuff people. I would love to be handcuffed to that woman forever and ever. Arrest me now, woman, and I will be yours forever! I will be good to you too! She is just the perfect fantasy character of a loyal woman, and the actress is so good and captivating with her big eyes and sexy voice. Oh no, here comes the creepy guy again!

But here comes another twist: I think people get the wrong impression of me. I need to clear things up. It’s not a joke that my favorite movie of all time is the South Korean film “My Sassy Girl”. I am a sucker for South Korean melodrama when it works, and I enjoy watching drama movies more than action movies. I also love slow, heavy Japanese drama movies. I think it has something to do with growing older and being tired of watching the same horror and action movies. I just want to watch something that emotionally moves me, and that can be heavy drama or a romantic drama-thriller like “Flower of Evil”. Let’s call it fantasy drama. I think there is one person who knows I’m speaking the truth, and you know who you are, Justin. I’m not the creepy guy you all think I am. Call me Mr. Romance!

Back to the series. “Flower of Evil” features excellent acting, and the two leading actors have great chemistry. I have to mention that two of the men wear lipstick, and as usual, I find this off-putting. In the last episode, one of them looks like a vampire trying to avoid getting burned by the sun. He looks like a vampire freak. But I guess I will get used to it, even though I find it off-putting. And the characters could have worn longer pants, for Christ’s sake!

And the series has that overly cute kawaii kid who will melt your heart when she laughs and smiles. Come on, she could have been the fourth member of Babymetal when they first started their career.

The police detective is the mother figure who tries to convince herself that her husband is not a serial killer. She also goes behind her colleagues’ backs, which can put her in a difficult situation when the time comes. Her husband, with a dark past, has a sister, and the husband’s friend is interested in the sister, who also has a dark past. Then we have another family with a dark past.

This other family has sort of adopted the husband, and he pretends to be their son. I found these characters and their story not that interesting. I’m not going to spoil anything, but you will find out why he is pretending to be their son, and I didn’t like these characters at all.

Some of the last episodes are pretty predictable, and what happens toward the end of the 15th episode felt a little forced and stupid. If you want to watch a realistic series and can’t handle plot holes and strange character choices that don’t make any sense after following them for a long time, you might find problems that could irritate you. I didn’t care at all since I loved the dark and suspenseful love story.

Especially the last scene could have been more creative. I have seen it so many times. But after watching the last episode twice, I can accept it since it sort of fits if you are paying close attention to things that are said.

The final episode is interesting, but I didn’t quite buy the last five minutes because I didn’t feel that the series convinced me completely. The writing wasn’t particularly convincing. Even though I wanted that ending, since this is a romantic drama thriller series, it didn’t have enough depth to convince me. The characters have been going around in circles, and if you have a heart, you will feel sorry for the wife, since she has the purest heart in the world. But I didn’t feel the ending was right. I wasn’t convinced, but we all wanted that ending, so it couldn’t have ended in another way. The characters didn’t deserve a different ending. But since I can’t spoil anything, there’s a character that has been pushed away the entire episode, and how this is resolved felt rushed and unearned. But the lead-up to this scene is excellent, and I’m especially talking about the scene in the car, which is long and so touching. I almost started to cry; it was so good because of the excellent dialogue and acting. I had to watch this scene several times because it’s so damn good! I will always remember it. It’s heartbreaking, and it broke my heart! These are tormented characters, and I understand the husband and his problems about not finding his true self. But at the same time, the cutest police detective is so in love with her husband that she becomes laughable at times. She is a really strong woman, but the series makes her look a little weak, which she is not, because of her love for her husband. She’s willing to lose it all standing up for her husband, and they are not thinking about their child when they are in dangerous situations. I like the character, and I fell in love with the character, but she’s still a fantasy character with the purest heart ever. Think about your child! It’s like their child doesn’t excist.

She is a fine mother figure, and I was captivated by these two when they cried and opened up. Especially in the episodes in the basement when the police detective was so angry at her husband. I’m not going to say more, but the scene is so intense because of how she is pushing her husband to see if he shows his true self. 

I loved the acting for the most part, except that this is a South Korean series and some of the crying scenes are just too long. There is especially one scene that lasts too long and made me laugh because the husband’s crying wasn’t that convincing. But Lee Joon-gi gets better toward the end of the season. He’s really convincing and steals the show in many of the most emotional scenes. Moon Chae-won is great, and I fell for her character, but in the last four episodes, Lee Joon-gi wakes up and steals the show from that point forward. He takes the emotional scenes to another level, and Moon Chae-won can’t quite match his excellent acting. This is confirmed in the last scene of the series where I was expecting more from Moon Chae-won, but perhaps her character was drained, or she was drained. It’s somewhat understandable since she had to carry a lot of the heavy emotional load in the first twelve episodes. And she is excellent at doing that. Because of her excellent acting, I have added some more TV series to my watchlist. I was spellbound!

Even though this is a pretty predictable series, I was most interested in the relationship and dynamics between the husband and the wife. I loved the scenes with these two, and I wish the series could have shown us more about how they functioned as a family with more focus on the kid and the kid spending time with them. I just wanted them to smile and find some peace together because they get hammered by emotional pain episode after episode. It’s so hard to sit there and watch them suffer because you just want them to smile and live a normal life.

I liked the mystery about the past and the second serial killer, but when this character was revealed, it felt pretty stupid and beyond belief. So I wasn’t that invested in that storyline, but it’s also important because the climax is so good in the 15th episode, even though I guessed the outcome.

I love “Flower of Evil” as a series because of the things I have mentioned. I wanted to watch more and experience more following these characters since I cared so much about the two central characters and their relationship. All I want for them is to be happy for the rest of their lives.

I must not forget the score and the soundtrack that just pulled me in and made my eyes fill up with tears. You didn’t expect that either, did you? But when I watch “My Sassy Girl” and “Windstruck”, I will cry a little. Ha ha, maybe it’s me who has been fooling you for several years! Maybe I’m not as creepy as you thought I was. Call me Mr. Romance!

But seriously, this is why I have always told people when I started watching South Korean movies that they are the best in the world at bringing out emotions in you because of the acting and the score or soundtracks that play during the most emotional scenes. They are masters at choosing the right music for the scenes when they are in their brilliant zone, and in “Flower of Evil”, they hit it almost every time!

If you like many of the same movies I like in the romantic drama genre, then I urge you to watch Flower of Evil. It has become one of my favorite TV series of all time. And again, Call me Mr. Romance!

Rating: 10/10

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