Movie Review: Terror Live

By Yvonne Lo

Several movies have been created on single locations thrillers and to develop a plot in an area is difficult. It is possible to make a good film of a single location thriller. Some thrillers are Phone Booth (a public phone booth), Devil (an elevator), 127 Hours (a man under a boulder), Buried (in a coffin), Pontypool (a radio station), etc. Terror Live is mainly set at a radio station studio in a high rise building. The film stays on the radio show host almost exclusively straying only to offer glimpses through windows or to TV screens.

Yoon Young-hwa (Ha Jung-Woo) was a high profile TV news anchor before he got demoted to radio talk show host after some embarrassing and potentially dirty dealings. In the middle of his latest show discussing the pros and cons of federal taxes a disgruntled caller threatens to blow up a downtown bridge. Yoon takes the call as a prank and challenges the caller to blow up the bridge and hangs up on him. An explosion is heard, and from Yoon’s office window reveals a smoking bridge near collapse. Instead of bringing in the authorities, Yoon moves fast to secure a deal to return him to a network anchor chair knowing the man will be calling again. He’s less sure of his plan once he discovers there’s a bomb in his earpiece.

Co-director/director Kim Byeong-woo sets up the characters early in the film, and we get a firm grasp on Yoon’s personality and discover that he is more than ready to throw his staff under a bus. However, what is unclear and lacks of connection is his relationship with his ex-wife who is a reporter who happens to be trapped on the precariously damaged bridge. The bomber threatens another explosion if a rescue attempt is made before his singular demand is met, so she and a couple dozen others become pawns.

The film starts off interesting and suspenseful, as we see Yoon’s inane determination throughout the film to milk the situation for personal gain. By the time it hits the third act, all pretense of real world logic or consequence has gone out the window, along with one character, and it leaves the thriller less and less thrilling as it counts down to the end. The film slowly starts to get predictable, and that’s the opposite of what should happen right?

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