After a public misstep, the haughty daughter of a chaebol family, Won Mi-ho (Lee Da-hee), is banished to Jeju Island by her father to reflect on her actions and teach at a high school. Mi-ho is only accompanied by Butler Chang (Oh Kwang-rok), whom Mi-ho is closer to than anyone else in her family. Little does she know that evil is festering on Jeju Island; the lust demons are desperate to break free of the island to wreak havoc worldwide. As soon as Mi-ho hits the airport, she is pursued by these lust demons, and the mysterious Van (Kim Nam-gil) shows up to save her. Mi-ho hires Van to protect her from the demons, and it’s clear that there’s something different about him.
Mi-ho ends up being the reincarnation of Wonjeong, a person from Van’s past that was destined to create a permanent barrier to hold back the demons. With her appearance on Jeju Island, an exorcist, Father Johan (Cha Eun-Woo), is despatched to protect her until the barrier can be set up. However, Goong-tan (Sun Joon), the villain behind the scenes, wants to prevent the reconstruction of the barrier and repeatedly attempts to prevent the reawakening of Wonjeong by killing Mi-ho. Like Van, Goong-tan was trained from an early age to fight against the lust demons. With the introduction of Goong-tan, more is revealed about the events from the past regarding Wonjeong and Van.
Like many streaming services, Amazon is getting into the k-drama game by purchasing the rights to be the sole broadcaster of some shows. I was glad that Amazon chose to drop two episodes every Friday as the show aired rather than holding the episodes hostage like other Western streaming services. Island was a good choice for the streaming service.
Island had everything I love in a series; it was a slightly outlandish fantasy with some seriousness and carnage sprinkled throughout. Interesting characters with hidden and/or dark pasts, terrible CGI monsters, fight scenes, questionable acting, and an idol as a priest, I loved it all. Was the acting mind-blowing? It was not; Kim Nam-gil was hit-and-miss throughout the twelve episodes. The character of Van could have been better written; perhaps it was the acting. Who knows? It wasn’t so bad that it hampered my enjoyment. I also enjoyed the series’ mythos, which blended Catholic and Buddhist mysticism to fight against demons.
Like many k-dramas, Island was based on a webtoon. I started reading the webtoon after I finished the series, so I can’t comment on the adaptation aspect. But, at this point, I much prefer the television series instead of the webtoon.
Amazon needs to consider a more robust translation team. The subtitles were OK, for the most part, but left something to be desired. This is primarily a personal problem, as I prefer more detail, like translation notes for context. Since this is more of a preference, it does not impact my rating.
Island was just fun. It made me smile, and I laughed with delight during the grand finale. The end of the series was left open, and I would be all in for another season. If you enjoyed Netflix’s Sweet Home, this series is right up your alley.
I’m a Data Analyst, from the land of Matthew McConaughey. I’m an avid movie-goer and love seeing films in theaters. My most recent favorite films are Good Time, Only Lovers Left Alive, TENET, and England is Mine. When I’m not at the movies, I’m either reading or watching obscene amount of true crime and historical documentaries.