Save Me (also known as Rescue Me) is a psychological thriller about a woman (Seo Ye Ji) who finds herself trapped in a pseudo-religious cult. When an old friend (Taecyeon) hears her ask to be saved, he and his friends work to help her escape.
Whew! That was one wild ride! This drama is all kinds of crazy. Save Me is completely different from any drama I have ever seen. The subject matter of a cult is very unique in and of itself. There’s no real solid pattern for predicting how a story like this will unfold.
Seo Ye Ji was fantastic as Im Sang Mi. She’s the one who sees through the cult the minute she meets them, but a series of events lands her and her family right in the middle of it. It’s heartbreaking to see how trapped she is and how much pain she has to deal with. And she just can’t seem to escape!
But she is the definition of a strong and brave woman. Her circumstances just leave her in a place where she really needs some help to save herself. Seo Ye Ji put so much into this role from subtle distress to full on terror. Wonderful performance!
Taecyeon plays Han Sang Hwan. As the son of the governor, he is well off, but he is very kind and down to earth. When Sang Mi moves to town, he immediately takes interest in her. But things get complicated fast for both of them.
Eventually, Sang Hwan is the one who hears her cry for help, and he is more than ready to jump in and save her. I really liked Sang Hwan because even though he wrestles with some difficult decisions, there is no doubt he is a kind and brave man.
We then have Woo Do Hwan as Suk Dong Chul. He’s part of Sang Hwan’s group of friends. He is frequently looked down upon because of his family background, and life has always been a struggle. He’s that rough around the edges type who has a big heart. And he too is ready and willing to help Sang Mi.
The other boys who are friends with Sang Hwan and Dong Chul include Jung Hoon (Lee David) and Man Hee (Ha Hoe Jung). They are both very good hearted guys who are always ready to jump in and help right along with their friends.
Then there’s our villain Father Baek Jung Ki (Jo Sung Ha). He’s the charismatic leader of the cult. His smooth talking ways and intimidating personality make him a force to be reckoned with. He’s completely creepy in every way. Jo Sung Ha really got into the role and delivered a powerful performance.
We then have our other baddies in the cult. Wan Tae (Jo Jae Yun) is the right hand man of Father. This guy is beyond sleazy and will do anything to make money. Then there’s Eun Shil (Park Ji Young) who is probably the most devoted follower of the cult. She’s so delusional that she will do anything to ensure her place among the saved.
I have to say, this drama made me seriously uncomfortable! Not in a bad way so to speak, but because of how incredibly disturbing the cult is and how all of the people in it act. These people are so messed up ranging from being delusional, just plain crazy, or completely villainous.
The drama really set the dark and creepy tone from the first moment and continued it throughout. You just never get a chance to feel at ease with this one. And one crazy thing after another keeps happening! I was always wondering what was going to happen next and was continually surprised. The tension and suspense are high from start to finish.
The drama also did well at delivering some very poignant moments. I was particularly moved by the subtle yet powerful moments between Sang Mi and Sang Hwan when she asked to be saved. There was this unspoken connection between the two that was filled with emotion, and it just completely pulled me in.
It was heartbreaking watching a family be torn apart and destroyed by the cult. They were once normal and happy, but the change they undergo in just a few years is amazing. Save Me was really able to paint a clear picture at how it is possible to take advantage of people when they are hurting.
Sang Mi’s family becomes completely integrated into the cult leaving her with nowhere to go. And her father (Jung Hae Kyun) ends up so delusional that he really thinks he is doing right by his daughter when in reality he is not only allowing others to hurt her, he too is hurting her.
The amount of control the cult had over its members was astonishing and sadly, very true to life. By using tactics of fear, punishment, and separation from the outside world, the cult was able to create an environment prime for brainwashing its members.
Most do as they are told because they believe it’s the only way to “board the ship of salvation”. But those who do break the rules are punished so severely and are “re-educated” so that they will not question things anymore. It’s scary to see what this sort of mind manipulation can do to people.
One thing in particular that I really enjoyed was that a group of normal guys was able to come together to do the right thing and help Sang Mi against all odds. They took on not only the cult, but powerful members of their city.
It’s difficult to watch as they meet one road block after another. But it’s also very heartening to see them band together and work as team. Their efforts are what gives Sang Mi a hope that she desperately needed.
Save Me was a truly fantastic drama. It’s dark, powerful, and very unique. It’s the kind of drama that makes you feel a wide range of emotions and really makes you think. The cast was wonderful with no weak links. They really bring to life this disturbing yet moving story of one woman’s harrowing journey to regain her freedom.
My Rating: 8.5/10
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