UNLOCKED on Netflix is a new psychological thriller from South Korea. The movie is an adaption of the Japanese movie Stolen Identity. It’s a serial killer story, where we see his method of stalking victims via their smartphones. Read our full Unlocked movie review here!
UNLOCKED is a new Netflix thriller from South Korea about a serial killer who stalks his victims via their smartphones. In fact, he even seems to choose his victims at random; If they lose their phone and he finds it, then they’re his next victim.
MORE SMARTPHONE HORROR
Though it has a different take on it, the new series Red Rose on Netflix is a relevant comparison >
This movie is an adaptation of the Japanese movie Stolen Identity which was directed by the iconic J-Horror director Hideo Nakata (The Ring, Sadako). It’s obviously a very character-based story, but it also focuses a lot on how much our phones say about us. And how dependent, we are on them. For just about anything and everything.
Continue reading our Unlocked movie review below. Find it on Netflix from February 17, 2023.
It could happen to you
When Unlocked begins, we follow Na-Mi (Chun Woo-Hee from The Wailing) who works as a marketer at a start-up company. She doesn’t make much money and also works at her dad’s café. In just about every way, she leads a very ordinary life of someone who works hard every day.
And she’s also someone who depends on her smartphone for everything from reminders to work and communication.
After a fun night out with friends, Na-Mi loses her smartphone on the bus as she returns home. Fortunately, she gets it back quickly. She believes a young woman has found her phone, but we [the audience] know it’s actually a young man. This young man is shady in every way and is installing all kinds of spyware on her phone.
When she gets her phone back, her life is about to change in several strange and twisted turns.
K-pop star Siwan as the villain
The young man, who found Na-Mi’s phone and manages to insert himself into her life in a separate way soon thereafter, is Joon-Yeong (or Jun-Yeong). He’s portrayed by Im Si-Wan who is also known simply as Siwan.
He’s both an actor and a singer, who fans of the K-pop boyband ZE:A will recognize. Also, if you’ve watched the Netflix series Strangers from Hell, you’ll recognize Siwan from that.
As Joon-Yeong, Siwan managed to deliver an extremely creepy performance at its core. Especially because he can be equally charming and laid back when the situation calls for it.
It’s almost too easy
As always, it can feel almost too easy to watch things go to hell for Na-Mi so fast. However, there are also people pointing out that Joon-Yeong seems creepy. Especially Na-Mi’s father, but – of course – she doesn’t listen to him. Her father, however, knows that Joon-Yeong is lying when he says he’s a regular at the coffee shop. He knows that much, so he’s on guard.
Na-Mi’s father is portrayed by Park Ho-san who fans of South Korean genre productions will no doubt recognize. Most recently, he also played the father in the Netflix horror movie The Call (2020) and he was in the action gore movie Project Wolf Hunting which we reviewed here >
The best friend of Na-Mi is also a little weary but doesn’t push too hard at first. This friend is portrayed by Kim Ye-Won who was in a movie with a somewhat similar premise. That movie was titled Door Lock (2019).
While Jun-Young is working on his latest victim, we also follow Detective Ji-Man (Kim Hee-Won) as he investigates a murder case. A dead body was found in the forest on a remote mountain. There’s quite a twist when the Detective finds clues that point to his son Joon-Yeong as the possible perpetrator—something the Detective only shares with one close colleague.
Watch Unlocked on Netflix now!
The new South Korean psychological thriller was directed by Kim Tae-joon. This is his directorial debut, but it’s certainly a very strong one. With a runtime of just under two hours (1 hour and 57 minutes), it isn’t one of the longer movies from South Korea. But the runtime is very well utilized.
The film is based on the Japanese novel of the same name by Akira Teshigawara. As already mentioned, this was adapted into the 2018 Japanese film Stolen Identity. I can easily see how further adaptions or remakes could be made in virtually any country.
Having watched this, you’ll probably be conflicted between keeping your phone even closer and simply throwing it away. However, as many modern societies are built now, you can’t really opt to do the latter without making your life more difficult. It’s a double-edged sword, which (as mentioned initially) is exactly what the British Red Rose series on Netflix also deals with.
Unlocked is on Netflix from February 17, 2023.
Director: Tae-joon Kim
Writers: Akira Shiga (novel), Kim Tae-Joon
Stars: Chun Woo-hee, Yim Si-wan, Kim Hee-won, Jeong-hwan Park, Kim Ye-won, Jeon Jin-Oh
A woman’s life is turned upside-down when a dangerous man gets a hold of her lost cell phone and uses it to track her every move.
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