One day in 1988, an ordinary man named Oh Dae-su, who lived with his wife and adorable daughter, is kidnapped and later wakes up to find himself in a private makeshift prison. Dae-su makes numerous attempts to escape and to commit suicide, but they all end up in failure. All the while Dae-su asks himself what made a man hate him so much, enough to imprison him without any reason. While suffering from his debacle, Dae-su is shocked to hear that his beloved wife was brutally murdered. At that moment, Dae-su then swears to avenge the destruction of his happy life.