* AdaptationDisplacement: The manga has been all but dwarfed by the film.
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome: The first movement of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons: Winter" certainly takes the cake, but the entire soundtrack of this movie is a work of genius. Every track is named after a famous movie classic (most of them film noir) yet every title also clearly applies to the events seen in the film when the track is played. Every major character has a theme that is played overtly in several scenes, rather than recurring only as background music. Lee Woo-Jin's theme is lovingly used throughout the film; it is also heard as the jingle marking the release of the gas in Dae-Su's prison and it is the ringtone on the phone given to him by Woo-Jin. The pieces themselves are so appropriate and original that even hearing a few seconds of any part of the soundtrack will instantly conjure up the atmosphere of the movie.
* CryForTheDevil: [[spoiler:Not minutes after Woo-jin destroys Dae-su's life, the film cuts to a flashback of Woo-jin unsuccessfully trying to prevent Soo-ah's suicide, which occurred because of Dae-su's carelessness. To finally rub it in, ''present-day Woo-jin promptly kills himself.'']]
* EsotericHappyEnding: According to the director, it's either a happy ending that's sad or a sad ending that's happy. Either way, the implication is that [[spoiler:the protagonist continues to carry on an incestuous relationship with his own unwitting daughter, and that he may or may not know himself.]]
* JerkassWoobie: Lee Woo-jin. Sure, he is an evil man bent on revenge against Dae-su. But he gets sympathetic by the end of the movie when [[spoiler:he watches his sister die]].
* MeaninglessVillainVictory: Arguably this for Woo-jin. [[spoiler: He gets the revenge he sought for so long, only to realize that it won't bring his sister back and now his life has no purpose. Queue Woo-jin killing himself.]]
* NightmareFuel: Much of the movie, particularly...well...see above under GoryDiscretionShot.
* ParanoiaFuel[=/=]FridgeHorror: The man was locked up for 15 years, and tricked into [[spoiler:sleeping with his daughter]]. All because he mentioned something he had seen, once.
* {{Squick}}: Played first for laughs (like the octopus scene), but getting steadily darker as the film goes on. [[spoiler:Especially the ending.]]
* TearJerker: Several scenes, but especially the unbearable finale when [[spoiler: Dae-su screams and grovels before Woo-Jin, begging him not to tell Mi-do that Dae-su is her father.]]
** "The Last Waltz", which plays during Mi-do's fantasy of the ant on the train and during the end credits, is a TearJerker all of itself, when the movie is over.
* TheWoobie: Oh Dae-Su. The dude gets locked up alone in a hotel room for fifteen years straight without being told why, and then [[spoiler: finds out that he's been manipulated into banging his own daughter]].
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