Korean Thriller “Unlocked” Is Charting High On Netflix But Getting Mixed Reviews From Critics

It was the second most-watched Netflix film on February 20, but…

Unlocked is a new Korean film available on Netflix. The movie is based on Akira Teshigawara‘s novel of the same name, which was initially adapted into the 2018 film Stolen Identity.

Unlocked poster | Netflix

Unlocked stars Im Si Wan as a serial killer who finds Chun Woo Hee‘s character’s phone, disrupting her previously-peaceful life. Meanwhile, a detective, played by Kim Hee Won, is investigating a serial killer, and starts suspecting that he may be searching for his estranged son.

Lee Na Mi (Chun Woo Hee) works as a marketer at a start-up company. She is an ordinary office worker who works hard every day. On a fateful day, Lee Na Mi loses her smartphone, but she luckily gets her phone back. Since that time, her ordinary peaceful days are threatened. Oh Jun Yeong (Im Si Wan) happens to pick up Lee Na Mi’s smartphone. Oh Jun Yeong, who approaches Lee Na Mi by using her smartphone, commits crimes using smartphones.

Meanwhile, Detective Woo Ji Man (Kim Hee Won) investigates a murder case involving a dead body that was found on a remote mountain. There, he finds clues that point to his son Woo Jun Yeong as the possible perpetrator.

— Asian Wiki’s synopsis of Unlocked

The thriller has so far had a strong reception, ranking as the second place “top movie” on Netflix for February 20, 2023.

| Yonhap

However, while viewers may be tuning in to the new thriller, critics have mixed reactions to the film’s plot.

A South China Morning Post review argues that while actors Chun Woo Hee and Im Si Wan “are among the most promising young actors of their generation,” the film actually “squanders their talents in a succession of derivative and underwhelming cat-and-mouse antics.”

Im Si Wan and Chun Woo Hee in Unlocked | Netflix

The review, which gave the film “1/5 stars,” believes that Unlocked had the potential to provide “meaningful commentary on society’s over-reliance on handheld technology and misplaced faith in the security of the digital realm” but instead relied on “tedious clichés” and didn’t leave any meaningful impact.

| Netflix

What’s On Netflix also gave the film a poor review, arguing that, on the whole, the characters aren’t very interesting.

Na Mi is a very average victim with an incredibly thin personal connection to her stalker that develops after her phone is stolen. Her life is not particularly interesting or intricate in design, so when her life is upended the drama is turned down until the stakes become potentially lethal at the very end of the film.

— What’s On Netflix

| Netflix

The review also believes that although Im Si Wan has shown his versatility in acting by taking on this role, he “seems to be miscast.”

The stalker we know for most of the film as Jun Yeong has no true motive for his crimes. He’s a psychopath, a liar, and a decent hacker, but overall his presence in the film does not meet the level of the escalation in his offense. This is partially because [Im Si Wan] seems to be miscast in this type of role. He doesn’t convey creepiness or a level of menace that would denote a criminal of this level. He seems to play his character with a flat effect that barely moves the needle even as the danger increases. He also journals his every intention which takes away most of the surprise as the plot unfolds.

— What’s On Netflix

| Netflix

Multiple Reddit users also agree that this movie didn’t live up to its hype, arguing that it wasn’t “as terrifying as [the movie] promised.

What are your thoughts?

You can read more about Unlocked here.

How Actor Im Si Wan Really Feels About Playing A Serial Killer In New Film “Unlocked”

Source: South China Morning Post, What's On Netflix, K-Odyssey and Reddit