Top 10 Shocking Hellbound Moments
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
WRITTEN BY: Nick Roffey
Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Shocking Hellbound Moments. For this list, we'll be looking at the most brutal scenes and surprising twists in the South Korean dark fantasy series. We decree that if you watch this, you are bound to see spoilers! So keep that in mind. Our countdown includes Kim Yeong-seok killed on live TV, Streamer Lee Dong-wook receiving the decree, Park Jung-ja's public demonstration, and more!
#10: Kim Yeong-seok Killed on Live TV
The first videos of demonic creatures attacking people shock the world. But four years later, these “demonstrations” of infernal suffering have become normalized, with religious rituals built around them. When The New Truth Society gets wind of Kim Yeongseok’s upcoming demonstration, they coerce him into an elaborate ceremony with a live studio audience that includes his own family. It shows that within a short time, people have become desensitized to these hellish events - even relishing what they see as just desserts. Kim Jeongchil’s cavalier attitude as he asks about ratings says it all. It’s reality TV at its most nightmarish.
#9: Vigilantes Beat Up Novelist Kim Gwangjin
Seeing monsters drag someone to hell is obviously terrifying. But part of what makes Hellbound so shocking is how … well, not shocking some of it feels. We’re not talking about the decrees and demonstrations, but about how online hate groups, mobs and vigilantes form around these events, eventually becoming mainstream. It feels all-too-plausible in a way that’s jarring given the violent and dystopian nature of the show. When novelist Kim Gwangjin misinterprets events, Arrowhead members find him, beat him and make him recant. Filming on their smartphones, the teens see themselves as righteous messengers of God’s will. But of course, their interpretation of events turns out to be false too. It’s a disturbing representation of how hate online can lead to real violence.
#8: Park Jung-ja’s Public Demonstration
It was impossible to watch this scene without flinching. A single mother of two children, Park Jung-ja seems like a good person. Surely, the angel that delivered her decree had made a mistake. Or perhaps the police would be able to stave off the demons. In exchange for money that she can leave to her kids, Jung-ja allows The New Truth Society to make her demonstration public - complete with a live audience and film cameras. The police stand by, ready to save her. But no one is prepared for the brutal scene that follows. In fact, we can’t even show it all here. Needless to say, the demonic trio put her through otherworldly agony before they’re done with her.
#7: Vigilantes Kill Min Hye-jin’s Mother
By episode three, we knew “Hellbound” would be brutal. But we didn’t quite know just how far it would go. That’s what made this scene so shocking. Min Hye-jin’s frail, elderly mother suffers from cancer, but somehow manages to find a reason to smile about it. After Min Hye-jin helps Park Jung-ja’s children escape South Korea to Canada, she becomes a target of The New Truth and Arrowhead. When Arrowhead members find her mother alone in the car, they drag her out and ruthlessly beat her with baseball bats. One even films the attack on her phone to share on social media. By the time Hye-jin arrives, it’s too late. This show doesn’t pull any punches.
#6: Streamer Lee Dong-wook Receives the Decree
When Min Hye-jin helps Young-jae and So-hyun flee the New Truth and Arrowhead, she takes them to a safe house - the home of a trusted “friend”. However, in a twist, this friend turns out to be none other than Arrowhead streamer Lee Dong-wook! As an obnoxious religious fanatic, he used his online platform to promulgate hysteria and violence. So it’s a shock to see him reduced to the timid hermit that now helps Sodo. In a flashback, we see that receiving his own decree changed him, undermining his faith. Or at least, so it seems at first ...
#5: The Demons Are Thwarted
As hell’s executioners picked off targets one by one, they seemed unstoppable. But while Young-jae and So-hyun don’t send them back empty handed, they do thwart their intentions. The parents’ newborn son Toughie seemed doomed; and we’re not going to lie, we genuinely weren’t sure how far the show was going to push things here. They had vigilantes beat an old woman to death with baseball bats, after all! We were in for a shock, but of another kind: as Young-jae and So-hyun cradle their child, the demons incinerate their bodies instead - leaving Toughie alive! Either the demons can be tricked, or they’re willing to take sacrifices.
#4: Jung Jin-su Reveals He's Hellbound
Hellbound takes careful aim at religious hypocrisy, and Jung Jin-su embodies that theme. For years, he’s been preaching “the new truth” - that an angel appears to mortals, condemning them to hell, and infernal executors arrive at the appointed time to finish the job. He passionately teaches that to avoid hell, people should avoid sin. But it turns out, he doesn’t even believe it all. As a boy, he received a decree himself, despite living what he sees as a blameless life. Past sins aren’t why people become hellbound. Jin-su seems almost resigned to his fate … until the pain and horror get too much.
#3: Park Jung-ja Returns
This short scene was a game changer. Throughout “Hellbound’s” first season, it’s assumed that souls bound for hell have received an eternal sentence. The demonstrations represent what so-called “sinners” will experience forever in the afterlife. However, season one ends with a shocking revelation. Jung-ja was consigned to hell before the mid-season time jump. Her public “demonstration” was used as propaganda by The New Truth Society, which turned the location into a sacred site. But four years later, Jung-ja rematerializes! This raises a multitude of questions. Was she actually in hell? Did she escape? Was she released? How will the New Truth try to spin her return? It’s a killer cliffhanger that left us on the edge of our seat waiting for a second season.
#2: A Baby Receives the Decree
Until this moment, the idea that there was a connection between sin and the decrees still seemed salvageable. Sure, Jung Jin-su claimed to have led a sinless life before receiving his decree … but why believe him? He also thought the whole world should be deceived. So it was pretty shocking when Song So-hyun saw her newborn baby being consigned to hell. This proved for sure that sin had nothing to do with it! It was also chilling in another way, raising the prospect that we’d see the demons “demonstrating” the pain of hell on an infant.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
Jin Hee-jung Burns Her Mother’s Killer Alive
Under Jin-su’s Influence, Kyeong-hoon’s Daughter Becomes a Murderer
So-hyun Takes Her Baby to The New Truth
We Know Characters Can Make Bad Decisions, But This Was Stupefying!
Arrowhead Ambushes Min Hye-jin
Out of the Frying Pan & into the Fire
#1: The First Demonstration
From the outset, it was clear that Joo Myeonghun was in trouble as he sat in that cafe. There was the sweat dripping down his face … his anxious glances at the time … and the conversation around him about “executors from hell”. In a teaser clip promoting the series, we’d already seen demons chase him down the street. But we still weren’t prepared for just how savage the attack was. The fleeing man is swung into cars and his face smashed into a bus. His implacable assailants beat him bloody and even bite chunks out of his flesh before reducing him to charred remains. It was a brutal way to open the first episode, setting the stage for the rest of the show.