The Final Twist
With all-out carnage and a climactic end to our storyline, Stranger From Hell’s finale does well here, resolving enough of the plot threads and bloody action to make up for some of the slower episodes in this series. Although some of the subplots feel a bit half-baked and the twist at the end may confuse some people, Strangers From Hell does enough to bow out on a high.
The episode begins with Jong-Woo phoning Jung-Hwa and telling her he’s heading into the studio alone. While she races to meet him, Jong-Woo notices an open laptop in his room with an ominous message for him. Creeping through the dark hallways, he checks in on Room 313 to find it abandoned. As he heads back to his own room, Deuk-Jong suddenly starts smashing the door in with an axe, eventually creating a gap large enough to open the door. As he enters with Nam-Bok, they anatagonize Jong-Woo about Ji-Eun. He eventually snaps and charges at them, only to be overpowered by Moon-Zo, who throws him in the room next door. There, they fight until Moon-Zo throws him through the door again, splintering under his weight before dragging an unconscious Jong-Woo away.
After a brief flashback, Jong-Woo awakens tied to a wooden chair while Ji-Eun lies in the dentistry chair across the room. Moon-Zo shows him his necklace of teeth before telling him to listen. He tells Jong-Woo he’ll spare him before placing the bracelet of teeth on him while Jung-Hwa finally arrives at the studio. Confronted by Bok-Soon, she confronts her before suddenly being ambushed by Deuk-Jong, who appears and finds himself tasered by Jung-Hwa. In the chaos, Bok-Soon pounces, overpowering our police detective and knocking her to the ground. Catching her breath, she tells a recovered Deuk Jong to tie her up down in the basement.
When the police do inevitably arrive at Eden Studio, Bok-Soon is hysterical and manages to convince them to leave until they return with a warrant. As they leave, Jung-Hwa finds herself face to face with Nam-Bok who heads down to the basement to antagonize her. Taking offense to Nam-Bok’s interference, Bok-Soon eventually kills the Eden Studio resident, lamenting him touching “her property”. This leads her into a confrontation with Moon-Zo and as things get heated, Bok-Soon meets a grisly demise too. As everything starts to unravel, Moon-Zo comes face to face with Deuk-Jong on the roof, who gets stabbed in the neck for his trouble.
With Nam-Bok, Bok-Soon and Deuk-Jong now all dead, Jung-Hwa sets off Nam-Bok’s ankle bracelet, prompting the police to rush the studio while Jong-Woo and Moon-Zo end up face to face. After an exhausting fight, Jong-Woo manages to stab Moon-Zo through the neck before asking him why he killed so many people. He replies that he enjoys gnawing on the innocent before collapsing to the floor in a heap, calling Jong-Woo his masterpiece. As our protagonist finishes the job, the police arrice and save Jung-Hwa.
In the aftermath of the fight, the investigation into what really happened gets underway and it’s here we learn no evidence links Jong-Woo to the deaths. Jung-Hwa eventually catches up with Jong-Woo and asks him outright what really happened and if Moon-Zo killed everyone. As she heads inside, she catches a glimpse of Moon-Zo in the elevator. Visibly rattled, she makes her way to Jong-Woo’s room in the hospital where we find out firsthand that Jong-Woo was actually the one who killed everyone in Eden Studio, not Moon-Zo.
As Jung-Hwa drives away, having figured out the truth, Jong-Woo continues writing as we flash back and learn that Moon-Zo promised to leave him alive if Jong-Woo killed everyone else in Eden Studio. As he writes “die” repeatedly on his laptop, Moon-Zo’s face appears on Jong-Woo’s, solidfying that our protagonist has now well and truly plunged into darkness, presumably intending to pick up where Moon-Zo left off.
With plenty to digest and a deliciously dark twist at the end, Strangers From Hell does well to solidify itself as a decent horror drama this year. While there are still a few unresolved plot threads at the end and a couple of the sub-plots haven’t always fired on all cylinders, for the most part Strangers From Hell does a good job building tension through to its climactic finale. The show has a perfect length too, having done well to avoid outstaying its welcome, and mostly adopting a steady pace through every episode.
Although some of the horror late on hasn’t always matched the good work done early in this drama, Strangers From Hell has enough about it to make for a decent watch nonetheless. While it’s unlikely to be one returning for a second season, there’s enough here for this Korean drama to bow out on a high.