Unlocked (2023) Movie Review

So far, the South Korean film industry has always had a kick when it comes to filming social issues, especially those related to crime. Not long ago, The Glory was able to photograph the traumatic issue of bullying and turn it into a revenge drama that doesn’t overshadow its social criticism. Unlocked , recording different issues, but still related to bullying and manipulation of others.

In fact, Unlocked is not a new story. It was adapted from the Japanese novel Sumaho o Otoshita (2017) by Akira Shiga and was given a distinctly South Korean touch. The names of the characters and some of their identities were changed.

Unlocked movie summary

Unlocked tells the story of Lee Na-Mi, a female employee at a start-up company. His cellphone had been left on the bus. Initially, he felt lucky because his cellphone was found by a man who claimed to be Oh Jun Yeong and returned it.

Unfortunately, the problem doesn’t end there. The return of Na-Mi’s cellphone is precisely the beginning of hell on earth. There is another figure who controls his life through all his personal data and accounts on social media and cloud storage. All of these things seemed to be done by Na-Mi because Jun Yeong installed spyware and had full access to Na-Mi’s cellphone, after he found it.


Na-Mi’s life is a mess. He was hated by his co-workers, hated by his friends, cornered, and worst of all accused of murder. Jun Yeong still haunts her life, follows her every move, controls her financial access, makes Na-Mi lose control over herself.

Unlocked Review

A suspenseful film

Unlocked provides horror not only because of its premise. The atmosphere that was built from the start was not good. The settings are diverse, the technologies are advanced, but it seems to have lost its warmth. In addition, the film doesn’t only focus on Na-Mi, but psychopathic men who target Na-Mi when she carries out her actions.

This psychopath’s way of stealing identities and stalking his victims is also creepy . He not only sees all of Na-Mi’s uploads, but makes Na-Mi’s activity pattern and writing style as a provision for impersonating Na-Mi on various social media channels. Therefore, it is not surprising that many people can easily blame Na-Mi for the many activities carried out by the psychopath on behalf of Na-Mi herself.

Review unlocked

All the terror was in fact not the highlight of the film. Like a roller coaster ride , we are just invited to rise to the top. However, the most exciting and heart-stopping part is when the ride goes down. That’s the moment when Na-Mi is accused of being a murderer and finds out that the person who returned her cell phone might be someone who is a cold-blooded killer.

The transitional moment from the critical moment when Na-Mi was confused with her life and when there was a murder went smoothly . The transition is made so natural. After all, the source of the problem is only one: the psychopath. The series of problems that are presented are neat, realistic and make the audience believe that these things are really possible in the real world.

The line-up of the cast feels just right

Im Si-wan really feels like he really animates the role of the psychopath he brings. It’s not easy to be a mysterious man almost expressionless throughout the film without looking cringe . Si-wan with a calm and intelligent face manages to convey a creepy feel , making us experience mixed feelings when we see him. If people with intelligent, good-looking faces and neat appearances cannot be trusted, then who can?

The same thing happened to Chun Woo-hee who played Na-mi. Innocence, fear, and how Na-mi who lives an ordinary life finally gathers all the hidden courage to fight back. Na-Mi’s character development looks good, not forced to rise from an ordinary person to a hero and that is well represented by Woo-he.

Good players are players who are able to bring the audience into the story. The collaboration between the two was able to do well, so that the audience felt nervous and insecure even in their own homes.

The plot is fun but predictable

Some audiences may be looking for puzzles in a thriller . This is something that Unlocked may not be able to fulfill . That is, from the start we already know that the problem will definitely be created by the mysterious man and Na-Mi will be trapped in that problem until the moment of the meeting. There is no mystery, except who the man is and what his motivation is.

Towards the end, we will be told doi’s identity. However, we are not told the motivation and background of why his identity could be like that. This can be a drawback, but when viewed in another way, it can be a strength of the film.

movie unlocked

This man’s identity may have a strong relationship with his “hobby” of stealing other people’s identities, without the need for this film to have a lot of lectures. It’s just a shame, the film ends hanging and there is no deeper exploration of the background of the psychopathic character.

If you see some things that are not finished and the ending is hanging, this film is suitable if a sequel is made. However, there has been no news about this and judging by the pattern of South Korean cinema, many films have been left hanging without sequels.

Shows without being patronizing

All the suspense throughout the film is basically meant to show the dangers of technology. We feel made easy by the ability of a smartphone to save and do anything. Some people even often make fun of conventional methods such as reading physical books, storing files in cupboards, or even saving without m-banking. Unfortunately, all that convenience will always come with risks.

unlocked review

Unlocked is a story that hyperbolizes the impact of technology’s fallout, but it’s not impossible. All small-scale technological crimes – from fake invites, fake packages, revenge porn, hacking of cloud storage, hacking of messengers to ask for phone credit and borrowing money – put together, the result is the psychopathic crime in the film Unlocked. The good thing is, this film seems to summarize all these technological issues into one, into a unified story.

How? Did you start to parno with your phone after you watched Unlocked? The terror in this film can be used as a lesson to always handle your personal data carefully, don’t share passwords at will and study social engineering well.


Zephyrine is an experienced film critic who has worked for many magazines and websites specializing in cinema. She has a deep education in film history and theory, as well as a passion for classic and independent films. Writing style: Zephyrine always evaluates films objectively and honestly, not influenced by external factors such as the fame of actors or directors. She often focuses on the content, screenplay, technique, and personal feelings to provide insights and reviews of the film. Her writing style is easy to understand and familiar to readers, but also professional and profound. Notable articles: "Step Up" - Success comes from the perseverance and relentless effort of young people "The Social Network" - A fantastic documentary film about the birth of Facebook "Moonlight" - A touching story about love and the essence of humanity "Nomadland" - A poignant journey of a mature woman "Parasite" - A sensational film of Korean cinema with profound social messages.

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