Fantasia 2019: ‘Door Lock’ is a Tense, Terror-Fueled Thriller
Korean cinema has mastered the art of the killer thriller. Films like I Saw the Devil and The Chaser manipulate their audience with a combination of tension and action that pulse through the screen and elicit a strong reaction of fascination and disgust. Door Lock continues this incredible trend of terror with a tech-infused twist.
The film follows Jo Kyung-min (Kong Hyo-Jin), a quiet and unassuming bank teller who lives alone in a studio. One evening, coming home, she finds the cover of her door lock left open and changes the code. But that night, before she goes to bed, she hears a terrifying sound: “Beep, beep, beep… You have entered the wrong code.” She repeatedly calls the police to alert them that an intruder has come rattling at her chamber door, only to have them downplay her concerns, essentially gaslighting her into the belief that it’s nothing to be worried about.
Of course, there is plenty to be worried about when it comes to her personal safety. Kyung-min is haunted by this night stalker; it becomes an obsession that gradually takes over her life. Door Lock is technically a remake of Jaume Balagueró’s Sleep Tight (a phenomenal film on its own), but the two are so dramatically different that they hardly bear comparison. There are certainly parallels, but they hold their own as separate, unique films.
While Sleep Tight focuses on the villain, Door Lock has a firm focus on its protagonist. Not only does this create a mystery within the story – a “whodunnit”, essentially – but it also allows the audience to empathize with Kyung-min, who must navigate this threat as a young woman in a world filled with overbearing men.
She is expected to be polite, agreeable, and delicate; a passive woman who makes no fuss and smiles along through awkward flirtations. She sets up her apartment to look as though a man lives there with her, just in the interest of her own safety. After yet another condescending dismissal from the authorities, Kyung-min — feeling her concerns are not being properly addressed — takes matters into her own hands to try and solve the mystery.
Violence is woven through the film, but it’s not gratuitous; it acts more as a warning of the danger that follows Kyung-min. It amps up the tension and keeps the audience on edge, knowing the horrific fate that lies before her. Visually, the cold, harsh urban scape is alienating, reflecting the isolation that Kyung-min feels.
The door locks in Kyung-min’s building are mechanical, so anyone with the proper code or key fob could gain access to her home. This concept is pretty terrifying; you don’t know who could have your code without your knowledge. Physical keys are harder to copy, but any observant individual could easily learn or guess your combination. This tactic conveniently allows for some astute detective work on Kyung-min’s part, driving the story forward and into some dark, dangerous places.
Door Lock preys on the idea that any interaction you have could be misconstrued by the wrong person. What starts as an infatuation can flourish to a full-blown obsession with dangerous consequences. According to a study by the University of Gloucestershire, stalking behavior has been identified in 94% of murders; it’s a sobering statistic.
Brilliantly directed by Kwon Lee, Door Lock prickles with anxiety; it strips away the safety and comfort of your own home and paints the walls with the worst case scenario. It’s a captivating and compelling film that brilliantly explores the dark and unpredictable side of human nature. The scariest thing about the film is that you could easily see it happen to you; if you live alone, it’s downright terrifying.
If you’re interested in a good creeping, chilling thriller, definitely check this one out. And don’t forget to lock your doors.
Door Lock is playing as part of Fantasia Festival’s 2019 lineup. For more films, check out their website or keep an eye out for our reviews.
Jean-Claude Van Damme Rumored to Appear as a Ghost in ‘Beetlejuice 2’
During The Hot Mic Podcast, the crew spoke about Jenna Ortega in talks to play Lydia’s daughter. Well, it turns out that the guys on Hot Mic also heard that an aging action star is set to play a ghost in the sequel as well. Over on Arrow in the Head, the direction of the aging action star immediately took the shape of Jean-Claude Van Damme. However, there are options out there that may point to other action stars like Sylvester Stallone. To be honest we would be totally fine with either of these guys coming to the world of Beetlejuice and playing a ghost.
The synopsis for Beetlejuice went like this:
After Barbara (Geena Davis) and Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) die in a car accident, they find themselves stuck haunting their country residence, unable to leave the house. When the unbearable Deetzes (Catherine O’Hara, Jeffrey Jones) and teen daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder) buy the home, the Maitlands attempt to scare them away without success. Their efforts attract Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton), a rambunctious spirit whose “help” quickly becomes dangerous for the Maitlands and innocent Lydia.
We can’t wait to find out if this bit of info is true. So far, we know that Jenna Ortega has been in talks to play Lydia’s daughter in the Tim Burton directd sequel. It will also see a return of Michael Keaton.
We will be sure to keep you updated on future Beetlejuice sequel updates.
‘The Lighthouse’ Comes to Special 4K UHD A24 Collectors Release
If it is one thing we know it is that we love Robert Eggers. Between The VVitch and The Lighthouse we were made into huge fans. Next up, Eggers will take on Nosferatu. In the meantime, A24 has released a very special edition release of The Lighthouse on 4K UHD.
The synopsis for The Lighthouse goes like this:
Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
Disc extras include:
○ Director’s Commentary with Robert Eggers
○ Exclusive mini-documentary on composer Mark Korven
○ Costume walkthrough and interview with costume designer Linda Muir
○ 2019 making-of featurette
○ Deleted scenes Book contents include:
○ Storyboard excerpts by David Cullen
○ Production design drawings by Craig Lathrop
○ BTS photography by Eric Chakeen
○ Bib-front shirt pattern made by Marvin Schlichting to Linda Muir’s design
We can’t wait to add this one to our collection. You can pick up your very own copy right over HERE at A24.
‘Scream VII’ Greenlit, But Should the Franchise Take a Decade-Long Rest Instead?
Bam! Bam! Bam! No that’s not a shotgun inside the bodega in Scream VI, it’s the sound of producer’s fists rapidly hitting the green light button to further franchise favorites (i.e. Scream VII).
With Scream VI barely out of the gate, and a sequel reportedly filming this year, it seems horror fans are the ultimate target audience to get ticket sales back at the box office and away from “press play” streaming culture. But maybe it’s too much too soon.
If we haven’t learned our lesson already, banging out cheap horror movies in quick succession isn’t exactly a fool-proof strategy to get butts in theater seats. Let’s pause in a moment of silence to remember the recent Halloween reboot/retcon. Although the news of David Gordon Green blowing off the gossamer and resurrecting the franchise in three installments was great news in 2018, his final chapter did nothing but put the tarnish back on the horror classic.
Possibly drunk on the moderate success of his first two films, Green advanced to a third one very quickly but failed to provide fan service. Criticisms of Halloween Ends mainly hinged on the lack of screen time given to both Michael Myers and Laurie Strode and instead on a new character that didn’t have anything to do with the first two films.
“Honestly, we never once considered making a Laurie and Michael movie,” the director told Moviemaker. “The concept that it should be a final showdown-type brawl never even crossed our minds.”
How’s that again?
Although this critic enjoyed the last film, many found it off-course and perhaps a stand-alone that should have never been connected to the redeveloped canon. Remember Halloween came out in 2018 with Kills releasing in 2021 (thanks to COVID) and finally Ends in 2022. As we know, the Blumhouse engine is fueled by brevity from script to screen, and although it can’t be proven, hammering out the last two films so quickly might have been integral to its critical undoing.
Which brings us to the Scream franchise. Will Scream VII get underbaked purely because Paramount wants to reduce its cooking time? Also, too much of a good thing can make you sick. Remember, everything in moderation. The first movie was released in 1996 with the next almost exactly a year later, then the third three years after that. The latter is considered the weaker of the franchise, but still solid.
Then we enter the decade release timeline. Scream 4 released in 2011, Scream (2022) 10 years after that. Some may say, “well hey, the difference in release times between the first two Scream movies was exactly that of the reboot.” And that is correct, but consider that Scream (’96) was a film that changed horror movies forever. It was an original recipe and ripe for back-to-back chapters, but we are now five sequels deep. Thankfully Wes Craven kept things sharp and entertaining even through all the parodies.
Conversely, that same recipe also survived because it took a decade-long hiatus, giving new trends time to develop before Craven attacked the newer tropes in another installment. Remember in Scream 3, they still used fax machines and flip phones. Fan theory, social media and online celebrity were developing fetuses at that time. Those trends would be incorporated into Craven’s fourth movie.
Fast-forward another eleven years and we get Radio Silence’s reboot (?) which made fun of the new terms “requel” and “legacy characters.” Scream was back and fresher than ever. Which leads us to Scream VI and a change of venue. No spoilers here, but this episode seemed oddly reminiscent of re-hashed past storylines, which may have been a satire in and of itself.
Now, it’s been announced that Scream VII is a go, but it leaves us to wonder how such a short hiatus is going to fare with nothing in the horror zeitgeist to channel. In all of this race to get the big bucks, some are saying Scream VII could only top its predecessor by bringing back Stu? Really? That, in my opinion, would be a cheap effort. Some also say, that sequels often bring in a supernatural element, but that would be out of place for Scream.
Could this franchise do with a 5-7 year hiatus before it ruins itself on principle? That break would allow time and new tropes to develop — the franchise’s life’s blood — and mostly the power behind its success. Or is Scream heading into the “thriller” category, where the characters are just going to face another killer(s) in a mask without the irony?
Perhaps that is what the new generation of horror fans want. It could work of course, but the spirit of the canon would be lost. True fans of the series will spot a bad apple if Radio Silence does anything uninspired with Scream VII. That’s a lot of pressure. Green took a chance in Halloween Ends and that didn’t pay off.
All that being said, Scream, if anything, is a masterclass at building hype. But hopefully, these movies don’t turn into the campy iterations they make fun of in Stab. There is still some life left in these films even if Ghostface doesn’t have time to catnap. But as they say, New York never sleeps.