In the leader they trust for OCN’s Rescue Me
Well played, OCN. If your intention was to creep me out, then you’ve outdone yourself. Rescue Me, the upcoming thriller about a cult and a group of youths who unexpectedly gets caught up in it has released two new short teasers and they’re… unsettling, to say the least. They actually work really well, because in addition to setting up the general feel for the show, they’ve certainly caught my interest when Rescue Me was previously low on my radar.
The first teaser has a really simple but effective concept: All of the main players in Rescue Me, from the cult leader to his loyal (and maybe not so loyal) followers, to our ragtag group of youths who enter the cult grounds to save Seo Ye-ji (Hwarang), pose in front of the cult gates like a yearbook photo. You know, if cults had yearbooks. Park Ji-young (The Liar and His Lover) plays the cult leader’s right-hand woman, and she narrates as the camera pans out, “We are a community who shares everything in our leader.”
Jo Jae-yoon (Defendant), another devoted follower, then states what sounds suspiciously like a real Bible verse: “Love thy neighbor as yourself.” And finally, the leader himself tells his congregation, “Do not be afraid. And trust in me,” as he inconspicuously rests his hand on Seo Ye-ji’s thigh. Gahhhhhh. So disturbing. Even more so when you read the plaques on the cult gates, which includes words like “Salvation” and “Eternal life,” and at the very top, “You shall become whole once you board the boat of salvation.”
It looks like Seo Ye-ji’s character in Rescue Me was never a willing participant in the cult led by a white-haired Jo Sung-ha (The K2). In the second teaser, she watches a fevered, wholly alarming worship service conducted by the cult leader as she says offscreen, “Mom, I don’t want to. Those people are… strange.” She does, however, seem to bond a little with the other younger members whose parents also pulled them into the cult, and Jo Sung-ha muses to Park Ji-young, “The children’s souls are so bright.” Which is so, so creepy when the teaser immediately follows that up with Seo Ye-ji getting manhandled by Jo Jae-yoon, with a strong undercurrent of molestation.
Well, at least Park Ji-young’s character might have an ounce of a conscience (buried somewhere deeeep inside her brainwashed head), because she also looks uncomfortable at Jo Sung-ha laying a hand way too high on a female’s thigh. A chyron appropriately reads, “This place is hell…” We see Seo Ye-ji’s once-happy family in a photo as its frame comes crashing down, and she tearfully calls out, “Rescue me.”
I’ve seen quite a few American shows that deal with cults, but I don’t think Korea has ever really addressed them in dramas before, so I’m looking forward to this portrayal of a cult leader and his fanatic believers. Even if I might need a shower every time I watch an episode. And it looks like there’ll be interesting psychological elements in play, because there does seem to be some inner conflict between the members themselves. And once Taecyeon (Bring It On, Ghost) and his friends, played by Lee David (Bring It On, Ghost), Woo Do-hwan (The Man Living in Our House), and Ha Hwe-jung, burst in to save Seo Ye-ji and her family, I’ll be eager to see what their disturbance sets in motion.
OCN’s Rescue Me will follow currently airing Duel on August 5, in the Saturday-Sunday slot.