In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal (2023) Movie Review

In almost every country there are beliefs that are so deviant. In the name of religion is indeed the right weapon for lost people. South Korea is a country that has a lot of this. Netflix’s ‘In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal’ is a visual witness.

Released on March 3, 2023, ‘In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal’ became a lot of talk because of the revelation of the sadistic guise of religion in South Korea, which is considered quite modern. In less than a week, this documentary has already made its way into the Top 10 most-watched Netflix shows.

In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal (2023) Synopsis

Episodes 1-3: JMS Church

In the first 3 episodes, the sect discussed was JMS or Jeong Myeong-Soek. A church head who has gained quite a following since the 80s. Its thousands of followers are willing to do anything, because JMS indoctrinates with religion and claims to be the new Messiah or Savior.

review in the name of god a holy betrayal 2023

In his indictment, JMS frequently abused young female followers. 10 years of being in prison bars, did not make him give up on committing sexual harassment. His many followers made him return to lead the JMS Church which is still active. He was even caught again in 2022. Even now, on the internet, there are still many of his followers protesting against JMS’s arrest.

Episode 4: Five Oceans

In episode 4, there were 32 mass suicides. The people who are suspected of committing suicide are members of Five Ocean which is a company headed by Park Soon-ja. Initially, this company implemented a creditor system on its followers, but the belief that Park Soon-Ja was a good Goddess for them. They are willing to do anything and give up any money. And finally Five Ocean got caught in billions of Won debt which was the main motive for their suicide.

Episodes 5-6: The Baby Garden

review in the name of god a holy betrayal 2023

In episode 5 and episode 6, a cult led by Kim Ki-Soon was revealed. Like JMS, Kim Ki-soon is the female version. Kim Ki-soon even opposed kinship and even family love affairs. So that only he can be loved by his followers.

Kim Ki-soon did not hesitate to kill his disobedient followers. Not only that, it turns out that he often sleeps with young male followers. The case was revealed when there were several reports of missing people as a result of being killed at Kim Ki-soon’s place.

Episodes 7-8: God of Manmin

review in the name of god a holy betrayal 2023

Similar but not the same, Pastor Lee Jae-rock is famous for spiritual healing with prayer. Whoever pays charity to his church with more money then his prayer will be stronger. Many of his followers believe because there is a lot of evidence that he healed seriously ill people.

Lee Jae-rock’s church is getting more and more mercenary. Everything related to him was cashed out. It turned out that female members of the congregation were subjected to sexual harassment under the guise of God’s examination. This case was about to be dismantled by the famous Korean TV station MBC, but hundreds of Lee Jae-rock’s followers attacked the TV station’s office. The event is well remembered because the national broadcast was interrupted.

In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal (2023) Movie Review

The time setting for the documentary is too random

Of the 8 episodes, the distribution of each case was uneven. Most cases of heretical sects are divided into more than 1 episode. The JMS case, which received a large portion, was deserved, because the description and timeframe for JMS to act was quite long. Even today there are still many followers who believe.

review in the name of god a holy betrayal 2023

However, the random distribution of time settings, starting from uncovered cases and moving towards the background, is too harsh and jumpy. The amalgamation of cases from time to time indicated by the exact date is increasingly confusing. It happens in all episodes. So you need to focus on stringing together your frustration with this heretical sect.

For the Five Ocean case regarding suicide is very hanging. What really happened is not disclosed clearly. We are instead shown the debate between forensics and detectives. Opinions that we should believe as expert evidence, instead confuse us.

The Baby Garden and Manin’s God cases are also like the other case templates. This case of sexual crimes and extortion under the guise of religion is branded as a heretical sect. Even the Church Committee has labeled these sects as cults. Maybe all the same things can be combined with different case examples.

Proof and scene fabrication

review in the name of god a holy betrayal 2023

Such a sadistic story is shown with support footage terrible throughout the documentary. Lots of uncensored sexual harassment graces the screen. However, in some shots the scenes are filled with a black screen and blur, contradictory but that’s how it should be. The good selection of actors who play a role in the scene creation is very similar to the original photos of the actors.

But calm down, not so much footage terrible original. Only a few videos of the perpetrator’s arrest. Matters that are directly related to the case are more than the words and witnesses from visualized sources. The rest, repetitive and boring visuals continue to be shown along with the time setting they want to show. Old and old recordings are visible in the ratio and image effects that are not very clear. This evidence is the only thing that makes us believe in all the cases that are revealed by the police or the Korean media.

The credibility of the sources

review in the name of god a holy betrayal 2023

Who knows any of the sources in this crime documentary? The dismantling of heretical sects in South Korea must be from sources who have experienced or been direct witnesses. All testimonies and talk only as reinforcements and scenes footage too random to sort.

The speakers are limited actor narrator for each scene that this documentary will show. The stories of his experiences have minimal correlation with one another. Dramatization of stories and appearances that are visualized turn boring. The opening episode takes up more episodes, fewer sources, namely Maple Yip, than the following episodes.

Even the credibility of Maple’s testimony has been questioned a lot because whether Hong Kong idols as beautiful as herself are also trapped in heretical sects. Or is she just a cast actress so to speak. Indeed, the lack of awareness among people in Korea is quite low, so that the speakers all look like actors with sharp expressions. Although it has been told that many use stunt doubles, the credibility of this documentary is questionable. Is this just a show of achievements in the arrest of the South Korean police and prosecutors?

In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal (2023) Conclusion

review in the name of god a holy betrayal 2023

Documentary is a show based on real events. All the sequences of ‘In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal’ are so random that it makes it hard for us to arrange and think about the case. A number of footage and witnesses become raw because of the messy arrangement.

The big case involving the police and the media looks unbalanced. The division of each case looks strange and repetitive. There are still many unsolved questions from one case. The four cases only demonstrated a heretical sect being uncovered.


Zephyrine is an experienced film critic who has worked for many magazines and websites specializing in cinema. She has a deep education in film history and theory, as well as a passion for classic and independent films. Writing style: Zephyrine always evaluates films objectively and honestly, not influenced by external factors such as the fame of actors or directors. She often focuses on the content, screenplay, technique, and personal feelings to provide insights and reviews of the film. Her writing style is easy to understand and familiar to readers, but also professional and profound. Notable articles: "Step Up" - Success comes from the perseverance and relentless effort of young people "The Social Network" - A fantastic documentary film about the birth of Facebook "Moonlight" - A touching story about love and the essence of humanity "Nomadland" - A poignant journey of a mature woman "Parasite" - A sensational film of Korean cinema with profound social messages.

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