The Chaser (2008) Poster

The Chaser (2008)

  • Rate: 7.9/10 total 12,906 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 14 February 2008 (South Korea)
  • Runtime: 125 min
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The Chaser (2008)


The Chaser 2008tt1190539.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: The Chaser (2008)
  • Rate: 7.9/10 total 12,906 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Release Date: 14 February 2008 (South Korea)
  • Runtime: 125 min
  • Filming Location: Seoul, South Korea
  • Director: Hong-jin Na
  • Stars: Yun-seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha and Yeong-hie Seo
  • Original Music By: Yongrock Choi   
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Pimp | Interrogation | Hammer | Chisel | Disappearance

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Won-Chan Hong  written by
  • Shinho Lee  written by
  • Hong-jin Na  written by

Known Trivia

  • The part where Young-min (Jung-woo Ha) slips as Joong-ho (Yun-seok Kim) chases him in the alley was not scripted. Actor Jung-woo Ha actually did slip on the slippery pavement while shooting, but kept running anyway. Director Hong-jin Na liked that cut so much that he kept it in the final edit.

Plot: Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts… See more »  »

Story: Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts. While trying to track them down, he finds a clue that the vanished girls were all called up by a same client whom one of his girls is meeting with right now.Written by sonic_bang  


Synopsis: Eom Joong-ho is a dishonest, ex-detective turned pimp who is in financial trouble because two of his girls have gone missing. One night he sends Mi-Jin, one of his few remaining girls to a customer. But he later realises that this is the same person who was the last to see his missing girls. Believing that this man is reselling his women, he goes to look for Mi-Jin. On the way he contacts his old police task force to ask for some help. But they cannot assist because the Mayor of Seoul, who they are guarding, has just been attacked with human faeces during a walkabout. The police are now preoccupied with a media storm because they have suffered humiliation for failing to protect the mayor.

Mi-Jin wakes up tied in a dingy bathroom. Her "customer", Je Yeong-min, comes in with a bag of tools. He tells her that a previous victim had her tongue cut out for screaming too much. Using a hammer, he tries to drive a chisel into her head. But she resists and he hurts his hand. Moments later callers from the local church arrive at the house inquiring about its owner, Mr Park. Yeong-min has no time to finish off Mi-jin so he invites the elderly couple in and butchers them.

But while searching the area for a parking spot in an attempt to ditch their car, he collides with Joong-ho’s vehicle in an alleyway. Joong-ho senses that the man, Yeong-min, is hiding something because he will not give him his phone number. Joong-ho calls the customer’s number establishing this is the man he wants. Yeong-min tries to run away but is caught and badly beaten by Joong-ho. On returning to the collision, both men are arrested by a suspicious local cop. At the station, Yeong-min admits he has killed up to nine people but hints Mi-jin could still be alive. A fracas starts when competing divisions all want to investigate the previous high-profile unsolved murders in the area. The chief arrives and throws the book at everyone because of Yeong-min’s injuries. He is concerned the beating will be picked up by the media following the night’s earlier mayoral incident.

Despite his confession, the police have no physical evidence so they cannot detain Yeong-min for longer than 12 hours. In order to get some, Joong-ho goes to Mi-jin’s apartment to collect DNA samples to match against the blood found on the suspect’s clothing. In the apartment, he discovers Eun-ji, Mi-Jin’s daughter, home alone. Reluctantly he takes her with him while he follows up a lead in Yeong-min’s home town. There he learns the suspect had been sent to prison for three years for attacking his own nephew. They return to the area where Mi-jin went missing. Following a lead, Joong-ho finds a place where Yeong-min had once been living. On the walls are a host of religious drawing. But while Joong-ho is away, Eun-ji wanders off after following a woman that looks like her mother. Off camera, she is apparently knocked down by a delivery driver on a moped in a hit and run. After a frantic search, Joong-ho finds her and takes her to a hospital. He signs the forms as her father.

Meanwhile time has run out for the police. The prosecutors office order that Yeong-min be released because the police have no evidence. Secondly the reopening of high-profile murder cases at a time when the police have been publicly shamed will not be accepted by the media. The prosecutor tells the police chief that the arrest, the suspect’s suspicious injuries and rapid confession will be portrayed as the police’s vapid attempt to save face. To avoid the political fallout, Yeong-min is released without charge. While at the same time, the chief orders the arrest of Joong-ho as a scapegoat because he attacked the suspect. Despite being taken, the former cop escapes from the police van to look for Mi-jin.

Unknown to anyone, Mi-jin freed herself and escaped from the house and the walled garden that is full of human remains. Badly injured but lucid, she finds help at the corner shop. Just as Yeong-min approaches the house he stops at the same shop to buy some cigarettes. The shop keeper innocently tells him what has happened to Mi-jin and that there is "maniac" loose. Taking a hammer, he kills the shop owner before killing and decapitating Mi-jin. Arriving at an undetermined time later, Joong-ho finds the street closed off by the task force police and the store a bloodbath.

The police realising that they have now been humiliated again throw everything into the search for Yeong-min. Meanwhile Joong-ho, who is bereft at what has happened, follows up his detective’s hunch and visits the local church; a link between the house callers and the car that Yeong-min had been driving the night of the accident. Standing outside the church, Joong-ho notices that the statute of the crucified Jesus matched the drawings he had seen in the room. Inquiries with the deacon lead him to the "assistant" who was staying at Mr Park’s house.

On arrival Joong-ho discovers that a now smartly-dressed Yeong-min, with his bag of tools, is just about to leave. A massive fight ensues in which a fish tank containing the body parts of Mi-jin is smashed. Eventually Joong-ho prevails but just as he is about to bring a hammer down on Yeong-min’s skull the police burst in and restrain the former policeman. As Joong-ho is pushed face down to the ground, he looks into the dead eyes of Mi-jin and sees images of her daughter.

The film ends with Joong-ho sitting silently in the hospital room alongside Eun-ji’s bed. He takes her hand in his own.


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Moon-Su Choi known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Yun-seok Kim known as Joong-ho Eom
  • Jung-woo Ha known as Young-min Jee
  • Yeong-hie Seo known as Mi-jin Kim
  • Seong-kwang Ha known as Detective Park
  • In-gi Jung known as Detective Lee
  • Yoo-Jeong Kim known as Eun-ji
  • Bon-woong Ko known as Oh-jot
  • Jong-goo Lee known as Profiler
  • Sang-hee Lee
  • Hyo-ju Park known as Detective Oh
  • Moo-yeong Yeo known as Police commissioner



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Yeon-jeong Shin known as makeup artist




Production Companies:

  • Daishin Venture Capital
  • Fine Cut
  • Hanhwa Venture Capital
  • Silk Road

Other Companies:

  • Bidangil Pictures  production services
  • Big House  production services
  • Dolby Laboratories  sound mix
  • Eastside Communications  publicity: Germany
  • Kodak  film stock
  • Seoul Film Commission  location support


  • Showbox Entertainment (2008) (South Korea) (all media)
  • IFC Films (2009) (Canada) (all media)
  • Asmik Ace Entertainment (2009) (Japan) (all media)
  • Klock Worx Company, The (2009) (Japan) (all media)
  • Cinéart (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • IFC Films (2008) (USA) (theatrical) (subtitled)
  • Cinéart (2008) (Benelux) (all media)
  • Film1 (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • Fundamental Films (2009) (China) (TV)
  • Golden Scene (2008) (Hong Kong) (all media)
  • Haut et Court (2008) (France) (all media)
  • Hwa Jaan (2008) (Taiwan) (all media)
  • Imovision (2009) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Imovision (2010) (Brazil) (DVD)
  • MFA Filmdistribution (2008) (Germany) (all media)
  • Madman Entertainment (2009) (Australia) (all media)
  • Maywin Media (2009) (Russia) (all media)
  • Metrodome Distribution (2008) (UK) (all media)
  • NonStop Entertainment (2008) (Scandinavia) (all media)
  • Rialto Entertainment (2008) (Australia) (all media)
  • Seven Films (2008) (Greece) (all media)
  • Shaw Organisation (2008) (Singapore) (all media)
  • Twin Pics (2010) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Vapet Productions (2009) (Bulgaria) (all media)
  • Vapet Productions (2009) (Czech Republic) (all media)
  • Vapet Productions (2009) (Poland) (all media)
  • Vapet Productions (2009) (Slovakia) (all media)



Other Stuff

Visual Effects by:
  • Eui Dong Park known as technical supervisor

Release Date:

  • Germany February 2008 (Berlin International Film Festival)
  • South Korea 14 February 2008
  • Hong Kong 14 August 2008 (Hong Kong Summer International Film Festival)
  • UK 23 August 2008 (London FrightFest Film Festival) (premiere)
  • Germany 27 August 2008 (Fantasy Filmfest)
  • Ireland 19 September 2008
  • UK 19 September 2008
  • USA 20 September 2008 (Austin Fantastic Fest)
  • Hong Kong 25 September 2008
  • Singapore 25 September 2008
  • Greece 27 September 2008 (Athens Film Festival)
  • Spain October 2008 (Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • USA 18 October 2008 (Chicago International Film Festival)
  • Germany 31 October 2008 (Munich Asia Filmfest)
  • Germany 6 November 2008
  • France 9 November 2008 (Lyon Asiexpo Film Festival)
  • Sweden 21 November 2008 (Stockholm International Film Festival)
  • Italy 8 December 2008 (Noir in Festival)
  • Japan 1 March 2009 (Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival)
  • France 18 March 2009
  • USA 26 March 2009 (Cleveland International Film Festival)
  • Hungary 28 March 2009 (Titanic International Filmpresence Festival)
  • Sweden 15 April 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Denmark 18 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
  • Japan 1 May 2009
  • Belgium 6 May 2009
  • Canada 17 July 2009 (Fantasia International Film Festival)
  • Netherlands 24 August 2009 (Noorderzon Festival Groningen)
  • Netherlands 10 September 2009
  • Brazil 25 September 2009 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • Brazil 16 October 2009 (limited)
  • Brazil 23 October 2009
  • USA 30 December 2009 (New York City, New York)
  • Slovenia 6 January 2010 (limited)
  • USA 12 January 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Greece 4 March 2010
  • Turkey 4 June 2010



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

The Chaser (2008) Related Movie

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , .


  1. Jake Kong from Republic of Korea
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    Few years ago Korean society was shocked by a horrible serial killermayhem. Dozen of call-girls are disappeared and never returned whenthey visited unknown customer. The serial killer also murdered innocentold men and women on his loose. After caught of serial killer therevealed fact was beyond one's imagination. He killed girls withhammer, chisel and amputated the victims. Some of them werecannibalized. He mashed victim's liver with food processors and drankit. Now the serial killer is sentenced to death and his existence throwserious questions about execution of death sentenced prisoner to theKorean society. For ten years Korean government never executedprisoners and now UN approved Korea as a No Execution country.

    This movie is a product of these social circumstance. Of course anymodernized country can have notorious serial killers. But this is mostbrutal and abominable criminal act as reported to the public.

    Another phenomena described in this movie are the inactive police actand ugly politician. Koreans are very disappointed at this and thismovie is quite accurately visualized the situation.

    Whether or not crime is the best motif for movie and this moviesuccessfully hold the breath of viewers. I am waiting another moviefrom this director.

    Good work.

  2. Mister Buggz from Netherlands
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    After the two very positive comments I decided to watch this movies. Atthis point the movie has 59 votes. So I didn't expect much from themovie. I was asking myself the question: "How can a movie from SouthKorea with only 59 votes deserve a 8,9? " But after watching the movieI can say this is one of the very best movies EVER made. I have beenwatching movies for quite some time now. And I have seen almost allmovies from the IMDb top 250. But this movie deserves to be in the top20. No question about it, no exaggeration. Just look at my votestatistics and you will see that only gave a few movies a ten.

    So what's the story of the movie? A former detective who is now a pimp,thinks 2 of his girls ran away from him. So he tries to find thosegirls. After some research he learns the truth is a little bitdifferent. From that point on, the movie never loses your grip. Neverget's dull. Always keeps you right on the edge of your chair. For therest, you really gotta see it. I won't spoil any of your viewingpleasure by telling you too much about the story.

    The other comment said something about a horror element, and a bitgore. But in my opinion there is no horror. Sure there is some blood,but it doesn't play a big part.

    So, why are you still reading my comment. Go and see where you canwatch this movie!!

  3. Ata-2 from LA
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    If the remake of Infernal Affairs (The Departed) won all those Oscarsthen a re-make of this movie will surely clean up. Its one of thosemovies that just doesn't let up. At any given time there are at leastthree threads to the story, each of which keeps you on the edge of yourseat. I actually had to stop it at one point so I could calm down abit.

    The acting by everyone involved is very believable and that makes itquite harrowing at points. I don't want to give away a single thingabout the story but what I can say is that its an absolutely brillianttwist on a story that has been done many times before.

    If you are going to see just one foreign film this year then let it bethis one.

  4. ElijahCSkuggs from Happy Land, who lives in a Gumdrop House on Lolly Pop Lane
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    The Chaser revolves around an ex-detective turned pimp who's underserious stress when he finds out his girls are being sold by amysterious client. He goes on the chase to find this guy and put an endto his missing girls…and missing money. What begins to unfold issomething him, the police or anyone for that matter, were unprepared totake on.

    Time and time again the film-makers from South Korea succeed and TheChaser is no different. With believable writing, fantastic acting(especially the lead who reminded me of Min Sik Choi) and an air oforiginality, Chaser easily became one of my favorite flicks of 2008.With side-stories aplenty, an evil villain and some brutal violencethis is something any fan of darker film should enjoy.

    If you enjoy serious drama, investigation films, serial killers, greatacting, you'll definitely enjoy this picture. I just wished they had adifferent title for the film. I like my title better. :)

  5. cz215 from Alpha Centauri
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    First of all, let me start by saying that this movie clearly is one ofthe best movies that I have ever seen, providing a totally differentapproach to a horror/ Thriller / Crime genre. What's amazing about thismovie is that it lets you know who is the killer right from the start.It shows what its cards are, but it still controls the game completelyfrom the beginning to end, without ever giving out any dully moment.

    Having loved some of the recent Korean movies such as 'Memories ofMurder' 'Old Boy' 'The Host' etc, I had a high expectation of thismovie after a strong recommendation from my Korean friend, who advisedme not to take my pregnant wife to the movie due to gory violence.

    It is indeed gory, but at least the scenes stop before the actualexecution of bloody things, such as hammering a huge nail into avictim's head, etc. I guess it's less violent that the Saw series.

    Fantastic direction (from a rookie director), fantastic acting & afantastic thriller. What a winner.

  6. Logan G from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    What a movie. When I rented this movie I didn't know what to expect. Itis usually is a hit or miss for Korean movies but this was a grand slamout of the park type of movie. The film is about a former detectiveturn pimp trying to catch a serial killer who is killing hisprostitutes. It's a big cat and mouse game between the two throughoutthe whole movie. The plot sounds thin but there is so much more thanwhat meets the eye. This is one of the best thriller/serial killermovies I have ever seen and I don't want to say too much about the plotbecause it is very edge of your seat kind of stuff. The film neverdrags and it becomes more intriguing the more you watch and you feellike you know the character because the actors portray them so well.This is a very violent and gruesome film that shouldn't be viewed bythe squeamish even though there isn't that many bloody scenes for beinga serial killer movie. The movie achieves so much more with less, whichhardly ever works in films that need violence to be a success. I wishthat Hollywood or even European films would have the brass to make afilm this unique and daring at the same time. The thing that this filmhas going for it the most is that it's wonderfully erratic. You cannever guess what is going to happen next and that is the reason whyKorean movies are so fantastically entertaining. I rank this movie inmy top three greatest thriller/serial killer movies of all timesomewhere between "Seven" and "Silence of the Lambs". The characters ofthis film really flesh out the story and let you jump right in. I can'thelp but stress the point that this film is very unpredictable and thestyle of the story telling is subtle but very effective. This film is asure bet and you will not leave disappointed.

  7. sitenoise from
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    This film is so Korean. The way it is shot and the way the story istold doesn't conform to the way many Americans think genre clues shouldbe presented and adhered to. At it's heart, The Chaser is a crime dramaabout a serial killer and the guy who's chasing him, but it evolvesfrom many different angles. It's a comedy of errors in the way thepolice and politicians are portrayed; a melodrama with its inclusion ofthe precocious little girl who belongs to the woman serving as thefilm's primary "chase" and investigative point; a psychologicalthriller in the way the serial killer messes with the minds of thepolice; a mildly gory film in the way the bad guy uses a hammer andchisel; a bit of a tragedy in the way it ends. The only thing missingfrom this film is romance. Thank god they didn't make one of themissing girls a love interest of the pimp—he's only after the moneythey owe him. That's where the brilliance of the chase begins.

    There's a fight scene early on where our protagonist, an ex-detectivegone bad turned pimp, is beating the crap out of some guy he thinks haskidnapped and sold some of his girls. A long uphill foot chase precedesthe brawl so both combatants are extremely winded when the fightingbegins—punches don't land and there's a girly incompetence to the wholething, which is to say, it's realistic. After finally landing a fewpunches that subdue his opponent momentarily, the pimp gets up andstarts kicking him in disgust. He's very angry, still a bit winded andout of control. One of his kicks only grazes its target causing him tolose his balance and fall on his butt, and because of momentum hebegins to roll and his feet fly up in the air. It seems funny, but it'snot. You have to sneak in your chuckle as he gets up and continueskicking the guy. When he's finally pummeled his adversary intounconsciousness, he uses his foot to roll him onto his side so he canget to the wallet in his back pocket and ID him. He attempts to sit onhim, not to keep him down, but because he's bone tired from all thefighting. He doesn't land squarely and ends up rolling on his buttagain. It seems funny but it's not.

    After the fight scene both men are brought to the police station forquestioning. Because the pimp is an ex-detective with a reputation, thecops initially sympathize with the other guy, thinking the pimpover-reacted—not to mention the causal fender-bender that brought thetwo men together in the first place. The pimp doesn't know that theother guy just took a hammer and chisel to the head of the girl he istrying to get back, he thinks she's just freshly been sold, making hissense of urgency misplaced, where it remains throughout most of thefilm. It's kind of awkward for the police to find much urgency in onepimp accusing another of stealing one of his girls. The bad guy insistshe didn't sell the girl and then mumbles under his breathe "I killedher", and confesses in great detail how he killed her and several othergirls. The pimp screams at the cops, "Can't you see he's justpretending to be crazy now?"

    And so it goes. We know there's been killing going on and we know who'sbeen doing it from very early on in the film but it manages to remainsuspenseful throughout. The Chaser is a gripping thriller from thebeginning until a few minutes from the end. The two main characters areportrayed with impeccable nuance. It's Yun-seok Kim's performance asthe bewildered pimp that takes this film to great heights. There are somany things that don't go the way he wants them to, like people hangingup on him when he's talking to them on the phone, a little girl whostartles him and asks too many smart questions, the cops can't doanything right; and every time, his subdued response of confuseddisbelief made me laugh. He brings a Kang-ho Song-ish melancholy humorto the film, (I can't think of an American actor to compare him to),while Jung-woo Ha as the impotent serial killer is so normal andunmoved it's creepy.

    There are a handful of groan out loud plot moves in The Chaser, but sowhat. There are also more than a handful of plot moves this filmdoesn't do, moves that most people will be guessing it will do, that itmore than makes up for it. This is a film I know I'll watch again justfor the performance of it. The plot won't matter. It's that good.

    More reviews at

  8. Joe from United Kingdom
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    Korean cinema does it again. "The Chaser" is another great movie fromthe Korean film stable. The plot stems around an amoral ex-cop turnedpimp who after losing some of his "working girls" decides to track downand find the client behind this. He ends up finding himself involved inmore than he bargained for, with the client being a serial killer, andits then a chase to find his last girl sent to him whilst the policealso try to pin him down but are hampered by legal red tape andpolitics.

    As you'd expect from a Korean film from the cop thriller genre it canbe very violent, and there's no denying that for this film, howeverthankfully it doesn't overshadow the rest of the movie. The chase ison, and the roller coaster of emotions following the pimp and the copstrying to stop the serial killer is nothing less than gripping,watching them go from one success to despair in short spaces of time.The tension is high and will tug on you right to the end.

    Importantly there is a lot of humour. The main character (Joong-ho Eom)is incredibly dry-witted, and is a release valve for the tension in thefilm. As he carries the film, the acting is important, and both he andthe serial killer are exceptionally good. Can't argue with either oreven the general ensemble.

    There is possibly an American re-make in the offing. Fair enough Iguess as that's become the norm now, but I hope it doesn't dilute thecentral story or the action. This film is a great gem, and follows onfrom some of the other greats in the genre such as "Memories of aMurder" which is a classic. It will unsettle but for an intelligentthriller, it really is up there with the best in the past few years.

  9. kosmasp
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    That's another user or commentator, here on IMDb. And his last sentenceis "Go and watch the movie". I fully stand behind this, because thiswas one of the best movies I've watched this year (at the Fright Festin London).

    There's only a little thing that you should bare in mind: If youactually don't like Korean (or Asian movies for that matter), than thiswon't be for you. Especially if you like your movies to be according toa somewhat linear structure. While with other movies of this nature,you might foresee things happening, I was baffled (in a good way) withthe directions this movie took. Very brave choices and a great script.The actors of course are phenomenal too. It all fits together in onewhole perfect piece. If you like your thrillers to be … wellthrilling, than this is the one to watch!

  10. akkoziol from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 9:41 pm

    Wow! I caught wind of this through a magazine review and checked it outand was very glad I did. Some of the great stuff coming out of SouthKorea will blow your mind and this is no exception. The referencespeople made to this movie being in the caliber of Oldboy and Memoriesof Murder are well substantiated but I would liken it more to Memoriesof Murder and not quite in the same league as Oldboy. The only movie inleague with Oldboy is Seven. While the plot kind of reminded me of someof the classic 80s and 90s psycho-killer thrillers we have had come outof the US, it does hold up well on its own for being a foreign film.Not the most original plot but a decent twist on it nonetheless.Nothing in the plot or sequence of events stood out as unbelievable andthere are some real gripping scenes that'll make you white-knuckle.There are some good character developments and reversals that I enjoyedas we see our main character, a former cop turned pimp, trying to findthe guy who's been killing his girls and coming to grips with hispersonal responsibilities and justice. I don't want to give away theplot other than that as it would detract from your enjoyment. It doesburn a little slow after the first 20 minutes of the movie as we seeevents unfold so be prepared for the reward in the last 30 minutes ofthe movie as the sequence of events crescendo. I'll be keeping an eyeon this great director.

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