Fantasia 2019: Fear for safety in Door Lock (2018)

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Urban thriller Door Lock (dir. Kwon Lee, 2018) wastes no time in stirring up fear in this home invasion narrative. Bank teller Kyung Min lives alone in a small apartment and becomes worried about her safety following a suspected tampering attempt with her electronic door lock and an altercation with an aggressive customer at work. One night soon after, the same embittered and scorned customer accosts her on the street, but is interrupted by Kyung Min’s coworker who offers to see her home safely. However, Kyung Min’s fear is fueled when she realizes that her co-worker already knows where she lives. She politely excuses herself before seeking help from police, only to return to find her co-worker dead in the apartment. In the days following this murder, Kyung Min finds a strange key under her cabinet and, with the help of her friend, she traces its origins to the killer. 

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The film has a handful of genuinely unsettling moments when paranoia is realized and very much warranted, and in an era where misogyny is sadly still very present, it also capitalizes on single women’s fear and the unnerving situations that can leave them feeling vulnerable to male aggression and violence. Despite the compromised safety of her domestic space and the palpable self-doubt, Kyung Min is not paralyzed by this fear though. It’s encouraging to see that she instead takes action and is determined to overcome its controlling hold over her life. 

Score: 6 tampered door locks out of 10.

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