Kdrama, Korean drama, Moon Geun Young, Shim Eun Kyung, The Village, Village: Secret Of Achiara, Yook Sung Jae
I have to give credit to Village: Secret Of Achiara for attempting something different in the milieu of kdramas that usually have same, run-of-the-mill plots and tropes that get recycled again and again. It’s another thing to wonder if it succeeds in its task or not. Well, yes and not totally yes.
The story of the drama is set in a small village of Achiara where Han So Yoon arrives to search answers about her family. A body is found in this peaceful village one day and that brings turbulence in everyone’s life and we see that there are many skeletons in everybody’s cupboard here. Also, there is a serial killer in the area who is causing great distress for the police as well as the citizens.
A murder mystery at heart, Village: Secret Of Achiara does an excellent job in maintaining its mystery, interest and suspense throughout its length of 16 episodes — no small feat as there is always the danger of running out of steam, plot or giving away the secret too early on. It consists of a large number of characters and all are very interesting and painted with depth. The writer binds everyone and everything with a deft hand and except for some minor things, there are no loose ends anywhere. The village setting adds an extra dose of intrigue, atmosphere and creepiness to the whole proceeding. It’s like there are lots of puzzle pieces and finally, one-by-one the picture becomes clear. There is also an overarching theme that provides weight to this thriller. The background score is good but in the initial episodes, it is overplayed so much that it becomes irksome. Another good thing is staying away from romance. In a way, the drama breaks lots of stereotypes of kdramas and that’s a welcome thing in my book.
The thing missing here is the degree to which it manages to bring thrills and chills. It’s a good mystery but the sense of nail-biting tension and crisp execution is missing. Also, Moon Geun Young is good as our protagonist but her character is very less interesting and is more about reaction than action. All other characters are far more interesting than her. Then I’m not entirely satisfied with the culminating arc for certain people in the drama. Also, there is unclear and unsatisfactory mix of supernatural elements and reliance on them for some crucial discoveries, which was a let down. The cops are better than the usual good-for-nothing cops we get in dramaland but their skills keep on switching from good to bad.
The selection of the cast is spot on. Shin Eun Kyung as the wife of the richest man of village is equally at home peddling vulnerability and shrewdness. Then there is Choi Jae Woong who is brilliant as Aghashi, a mysterious man in the village. Jang So Yun is another stand out and Jang Hee Jin plays her role with lots of grace and enigma. Yook Sung Jae is a cutie pie (Okay, I had to say this. LOL) — he pleasantly plays the cop who is over excited and enthusiastic to solve a crime in a place which normally doesn’t get many cases to do so.
All in all, Village: Secret Of Achiara is a good murder mystery with many twists and turns and cliffhangers to whet the appetite of the fans of the genre, with support from top-notch acting and characters.
My Rating: 7 out of 10
I gave it an 8! And that rating was for all of the supporting cast! I agree with you 90%! The music? I guess I dismissed it because it didn’t grab me as much as the mystery. I agree that the supernatural wasn’t explained as much but then I wrote my own explanation for that! All that were touched/had a connection with the dead sister, that connection remained. I’d like to think like that! But I loved how he showed how each of the victims handled the situation differently because of their age and circumstance. I also loved that the drama was devoid of romance! SEK did a standup job in this! Thanks for your review. You did it better justice than I would have!
The music helped in building up the creepy, mystery vibe for the most part, except in first few episodes. Glad to hear your thoughts on the show. Yes, the supernatural elements were connected to her sister but what I had problem with was the fact that those were responsible for some discoveries…so it was not exciting, which would have been the case if that had been solved manually (like that finger nail, for example)
Anyway, all in all, a good effort to bring something different in the kdramaland.
I put this on hold after 3 episodes. Other dramas were calling to me, and this wasn’t quite holding my attention. I like the cast of characters, but am having trouble connecting with them. I really like the plot though and am really interested to see where they go with it. I’m not sure when it will call back to me though.
I agree…it’s not easy to connect with the characters here. Especially in the beginning as everyone is having secrets and you don’t know whom to trust. It’s a good effort for a mystery though. I know how sometimes it’s difficult to watch everything as every day new dramas keep on arriving.