Netflix’s “Unlocked” Review- Shockingly Under-delivers And Wastes Its Talented Cast

Published Categorized as Kdrama Reviews

Netflix’s “Unlocked” has been on my radar ever since I saw the posters which I thought were very creative and nice.

Note: this is a subjective review and a spoiler review.

It also boasts some amazing talents including Siwan and Chun Woo Hee. And to be honest with you, I am always down to see Siwan play a psychopath role. I remember what he did in “Strangers from Hell” which remains one of my favorite kdramas of all time, there is definitely a lot of promise here, however, the film under-delivers and falters its way through its very basic plot. So much so I left the film feeling rather angry at how the director-screenwriter squanders the opportunity.

The plot itself is basic, however, it could have still worked wonders if the execution was done correctly, why? Because there is a lot of truth to whats being said about technology and just how far we rely on our phones to get by and get things done. It also feels like something that could happen to any of us just like that. Even if it might feel repetitive as an idea, it can still be quite terrifying if done correctly.

The plot doesn’t quite capture that ‘uneasy’ feel until the end consistently, while it starts out strong, it quickly dissipates and falters towards the end resorting to an odd mixture of cliches known to this genre as well as some very puzzling writing.

In the film, the detectives quickly figure out Na Mi is in danger and try to help, however, its very puzzling they didn’t even ask for how he looked, you could say its because they supposedly knew his face but its very puzzling they didn’t just cross-check the CCTV footage in her father’s cafe. Its like the basic of the basics of investigation, and thats not the only thing they neglect to mention or expand upon.

Also, her friend just weirdly reacts to her uneasiness and accusations and just tells her ‘not to contact’ her simply like that, I mean if she’s the truly good friend she’s portrayed to be, I’d assume a more emotional pull.

Across the board, the film lacks that emotional pull even when objectively horrible things happen to Na Mi, it does a very poor job at establishing why it should matter when her friend is gone, her father is nearly killed and her job disappears, nothing happens to the character in a way that establishes enough emotional connection to make me feel something.

I think Jun-Yeong’s actions should have been way more painful and slow in order for them to feel like it matters. The dude takes her phone, hacks it, plans to kill her in the span of less than a week, he says it took him like 3 days…. If I’d assume he’s a psychopath, wouldn’t they love to enjoy torturing their victims a bit more? Especially if he’s doing it for the sake of it.

There are also numerous questions about how what appears to be perfectly normal functioning women of society just disappear like that until the bodies are found…. I just felt this part, which was very important and central to the story is not expanded upon properly despite the lengthy run time.

These are both directorial and screenwriting issues, Kim Tae-Joon, a first time director, worked on this script and directed it too, and its very easy to tell its somebody’s directorial debut. Its not the most horrible start by any means, but its not as impactful as it could have been. I think in the hands of more experienced directors or writers, we could have gotten something way more memorable.

The script needed more revisions to feel special, neither the psychopath nor the victim possess enough of a personality to make us particularly care about whats happening.

Aside from the fear people will have because of the creepy idea behind the film, the characters do little to deepen that fear. It ends up feeling rather very surface-level PG rendering of a stalker-hacker psychopath after women.

Its very difficult to make a Siwan or a Woo Hee performance feel dull, but the director actually managed to do it here. I’ve never seen it happen even when Siwan does slow-paced dramas.

I would have loved for the script to have carried more weight so the actors’ best could have been brought out.

In the hit “Emergency Declaration,” Siwan’s character carries much more weight despite its very short appearance, it manages to inject so much fear, granted, that scale of the film is different but the way the director and screenwriter took advantage of establishing Siwan’s character there was much more impactful.

Its maybe because I had higher expectations than I should have. Generally speaking, Siwan picks amazing projects, I’ve been very rarely disappointed with anything he’s picked.

I’ve also seen how great he was in “Strangers from Hell” which I’d highly recommend if you actually wants to see him lose his sh*t. Its way better, but don’t eat watching it, its also much more difficult to watch. Maybe because I know just how much more terrifying Siwan can actually be, this performance feels unfulfilling to me.

I’d say that if you don’t generally watch horror or suspense k-movies, this was likely something you enjoyed watching while being scared. I watch much worse and more horrific things, and I’ve seen how K-movies can pull off these genres so well so this doesn’t even come close to what I am used to.

Have you guys seen “Unlocked” yet? What are your thoughts on it?

By Jass K.

Hi, I am Jass k. I discuss some of the hottest currently airing kdramas on this site in form of reviews an/or recaps, join me in the discussion~

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