…Right, so I didn’t really have a fantastic impression of Cheo-yong 1, but I’m pleased to say that Cheo-yong 2‘s debut is impressive. Juz the right amount of chills, humour and of course, dark, gritty suspense. And oh, the few chopped up bodies along the way do spice things up.

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Synopsis:

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A newly appointed contract staff (Kim Yoo-ri), volunteers to work late in the office to clear her work. Her colleagues are worried, and tell her to finish before 10pm…cos the building is haunted. Yoo-ri brushes off the scary talk and later grouches that only perm staff have “such leisure” to engage in ghost stories.

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Clock strikes 11pm, and our contract girl is nodding off at her desk. She gets up to wash her face in the very-empty-very-dark (haunted) Ladies and that’s when things start to get really exciting (in the spooky way). First, Yoo-ri starts to hear weird sounds drifting out from the wash basin, like some faint clanging…then the toilet cubicles start to auto flush on their own…the toilet lights start to flicker…and she sees a ghost(?) in the (haunted) mirror.

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Spooked, she runs out, and methinks plans to leave the building in the (haunted) lift. Only thing is: lift doors won’t close…until a strange puddle of water seeps in from god-knows-where and the lift doors close on their own accord. (there’s a reason why pple tell you to take STAIRS in an emergency, yunno) The buttons on the lift start to go crazy and the lift decides to turn into pepper shaker (with Yoo-ri being the pepper). Amazingly, after the wild roller coaster-like ride, Yoo-ri (and the lift) hasn’t been smashed to bits. She lands in the basement of the building…and sees a light at the far end. Left with no choice, she stumbles towards the light…only to be grabbed by some(thing) or some(one) by the legs.

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Scene cut: a couple drive down a lonely road in the middle of the night, and Oppa claims that they will reach their destination after a left-turn. Suddenly, the girlfriend screams — their car has hit something  bundled up in white on the road. The boyfriend gets down to check…and finds it’s only bagged trash. He angrily kicks it off the road, unaware of a spooky face materialising behind him on the wall…and his GPS in the empty car starts to change road directions…

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The couple continue on their way, blissfully ignorant of what has transpired, and ends up in an illegal garbage dump. They both get down to check out the surroundings, but girlfriend says the place is kinda creepy, so she hustles her oppa back to the car…only to trip…over a severed hand. (cue: mad screams)

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Police HQ convenes an urgent meeting wrt the discovered limb. Inspector Jung Ha-yoon briefs the top brass on the recent spate of females (about 5) in their 20s reported missing, and the severed hand belongs to one of them. The other 4 are also presumed kidnapped or dead. The latest missing person is Yoo-ri.

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Police Comm (played by Lee Kyung-yong, last seen in Hidden Identity as “Ghost”) knows that this is a case for his old-time frenemy (but seriously good) detective, Inspector Kang Gi-young. Inspector Kang plays hard to get for a while, before agreeing to take on the case — but on his own terms. 

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Cue: Inspector Kang amassing Cheo-yong‘s previous team, who has been disbanded after that finale spooky case in Cheo-yong 1. Team Leader Byeon Kook-jin is now heading another team, Detective Lee Jong-hyun has been given a “lighter” duty (as a police mascot) post-injury, and Cheo-yong is busy flattening out a bunch of mobsters who kidnap high school girls to sell them as prostitutes. Of cos he is led to the hideout by a ghost (who had suffered a similar sad fate). However, Cheo-yong’s perceived “invincibility” is frowned upon by his current team members, who want nothing to do with him.

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Thus, when Inspector Kang offers Cheo-yong a chance to work with his ex-team members again, Na-young (the ghostly high schooler sidekick) is elated. She threatens, bribes and blackmails Cheo-yong until he has “no choice” but to accept the offer. (and seems like Na-young is no longer confined to the previous police station, after her grievance is resolved)

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The team is offered a dilapidated building to set up base (fondly referred to as the “Ghost House”), and they get to work. A new female officer (Ha-yoon) is introduced into the team, to replace the wallpaper-flower-vase, Ha Sun-woo of Cheo-yong 1. (hopefully she doesn’t turn out to be vase no. 2) Ha-yoon and Cheo-yong visit the forensic pathologist to find out more about the dead body. The remaining body parts, minus the shins, are found in the garbage dump as well. The pathologist informs them that the perv has used a Stryker saw to cut up the bigger joints, and a scalpel to trim the smaller tendons, leading to neat and precise incisions.

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Team Leader Kook-jin and Jung-hoon check out the dump where the body was found. Although the on-site CCTV is a dud, they manage to find one over-zealous conservation activist who regularly films the dumpsite to report on illegal dumpers. In one of the videos, the team iden their first suspect — Park In-young — who has previous convictions of rape and assault. He also has links to the Mafia, selling stolen identities to criminals for cash.

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Cheo-yong and Na-young check out an ahjausshi hobo ghost (played by Lee Won-jong, last seen also in Hidden Identity as Choi Tae-pyeong) and ask if he has ever seen In-young around before. He says yes, In-young regularly pays the hobos for their IDs. He also tells them In-young has a roving eye for women, and stinks of antiseptic.

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Using these clues (like WHAT clues?!), Team Leader Kook-jin and Jung-hoon visit a waterpark, and manage to catch In-young furtively filming bikini-clad girls on his hidden videocam. They give chase, but lose him. Na-young manages to track him down by popping into the men’s changing room (heh) and Cheo-yong trips up the fleeing In-young and arrests him. However, during interrogation, he claims to have no idea about the missing girls.

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Still, In-young has been caught on tape disposing the dismembered body, so he’s the only lead in the case the team has now. In-young’s transit card leads the team to a warehouse, where the mob operates. One of the mobsters escape, and Cheo-yong (with Na-young trailing behind) gives chase. A patrol police officer, Han Tae-gyeong, volunteers to help chase down the escaping mobster’s car…and the scene changes to one of a high speed chase, with Officer Han clearly enjoying the fast drive, and Na-young cooing over how good looking “Gyeong-chal Oppa” (Police Oppa) is. Only person NOT enjoying the impromptu roller coaster ride is Cheo-yong, who looks like he is about to throw up.

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With Officer Han’s help, Cheo-yong captures the fleeing mobster, and with a rather ingenious interrogation method (he threatens to flatten him in a car junkyard, and Officer Han volunteers to man the crane…that boy), the mobster reveals that they (including In-young) are “guards” for the Mafia’s safe house for “collected” riches.

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The team (with SWAT counterparts) storm the safe house, and discover more crates of dismembered bodies belonging to 4 women (sans Yoo-ri) held as “collateral” for loans. Obviously, the Mafia has no idea what their debtors submit as collateral. In-young has the bad habit of pinching some of these collateral, and on that fateful night, he picked the wrong crate to take. Panicking, he had dumped the body at the dumpster. The police also find that all the bodies of the 4 women are incomplete. Clearly, their killer has been keeping selected body parts as souvenirs. Ha-yoon surmises that the perv is collecting the prettiest body part of each victim to form a “new feminine body”.

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Strongly suspecting that Yoo-ri may be the latest victim, and may still be alive, the team backtrack her movements on the day she was reported missing. Cheo-yong and Ha-yoon pay a visit to Yoo-ri’s office, and Cheo-yong immediately senses that “extra presence” in the building.

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A long haired female ghost lures both of them into the (haunted) lift, and the lift starts to act up again. While clinging on for their lives, Cheo-yong gets a flashback from the ghost’s last memories. She heard the sound of the Stryker saw and a man approaching her, while strapped down on an operating table wrapped in plastic sheets. And Cheo-yong senses her fear, and intense pain before death as the saw cut through her flesh. The whining of the fast descending lift is eerily similar to the powering of the Stryker saw.

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The lift grinds to a gentle halt at level 1, and Cheo-yong rushes down to the basement carpark to investigate. He finds nothing fishy. Meanwhile, a shaken Ha-yoon goes to the (haunted) toilet to calm her nerves…and overhears tenants from the building talking about the hauntings, and Yoo-ri’s disappearance. After they are gone, Ha-yoon hears weird noises coming out from the wash basin as well…

(but unknown to her (and the other female users), someone has been spying on the ladies in the toilet, using a hidden cam)

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…as for the weird noises…they come from a cuffed and beaten up Yoo-ri. She is banging on the pipes and screaming in desperation whenever she hears someone using the Ladies upstairs. A man enters then, and drags her by the hair to a room covered in plastic sheets. He straps her down on the operating table…and powers up his Stryker saw…

[to be continued in ep2]

Review:

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Woah…why end there?! grr…

As of ep1, my suspicions fall on 2 men whom Cheo-yong and Ha-yoon meet in the Haunted Building — the courier and a gentleman in business suit. The former walks into the haunted lift, after Cheo-yong and Ha-yoon left, pushing a trolley with the same blue crate which the bodies (parts) are found in. The latter is a rude businessman (?) whom Cheo-yong meets in the basement parking lot, and who tells Cheo-yong to mind his own business. (since so little is known about him, and we HAD to see him makes him suspicious)

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Whatever the case, Cheo-yong 2 continues with the idea that yes, ghosts are creepy scary…but humans are juz pure evil. I hope that Cheo-yong 2 continues in this vein, and not give me a lame explanation that the so-called evil human is evil cos he’s 1) possessed, or 2) mind-controlled by a demon.

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Having humans scarier than ghosts is much more powerful message.

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