‘Target’ First Review: ‘Unsettlingly Familiar’, ‘More Than Just a Thrilling Watch’

target movie 2023 review
target movie 2023 review
Credit: ZAPZEE

Shin Hye Sun‘s first thriller, Target, has been unveiled. The movie spins a suspenseful tale about Su Hyun’s everyday life taking a terrifying turn after a simple online secondhand purchase.

The movie’s press screening took place at Gangnam’s Megabox COEX, attended by director Park Hee Gon, along with stars Shin Hye Sun, Kim Sung Kyun, and Lee Joo Young.

When discussing the creation of the movie’s chilling antagonist, director Park shared, “I drew inspiration from real-life figures who caused harm through online scams and drove people close to a mental breakdown.” He added, “While filming, the police nabbed one of the culprits, but there’s still one who hasn’t been caught.” He also detailed the movie’s approach, explaining, “We wove various real-life incidents into a single fictional story, with the goal of making it as realistic as possible.”

Furthermore, the director, “The investors and the production team unanimously selected Shin Hye Sun for the lead role after reviewing the movie’s script. We believed that only she could embody the dynamic character who finds courage and strength as the story progresses.”

Shin Hye Sun reflected, “Understanding the gradual escalation of fear and distress was my biggest challenge. It’s different when you read about it compared to living it. Before filming, I thought, ‘This might be tough.’ However,  I experienced an entirely different level of fear on set. I tried my best to convey the horror of having someone’s everyday life invaded.”

Kim Sung Kyun chimed in, “Working with Shin Hye Sun, I fell in love with both the actress and her character. Our teamwork was so powerful that I worried Chief Ju’s motivations for helping Su Hyun might be misinterpreted as love.”

Director Park clarified that while victims in the actual case came from diverse ages and genders, the choice to focus on a female character at the heart of the story came from his encounters with real-life victims, particularly a woman who bravely confronted one of the scammers.

target movie 2023 review
Credit: ZAPZEE

Now, let’s take a look at how different media outlets reacted after watching the movie at the press screening.

Sports Hankook: Target remains faithful to its genre, skillfully weaving in real-life incidents while scattering intriguing clues throughout its plot. The film maintains its excitement by tapping into the unsettling feeling of mistrust and powerlessness in everyday life. Particularly noteworthy is how the movie intertwines a murder case with the relatable world of online secondhand shopping. Su Hyun’s relatable ordinary life intensifies fear as she becomes a scam victim and confronts the wrongdoer. As the movie progresses, she gets ambushed, flustered, and terrified until she finally finds the courage to fight back. Such realism shows what it’s like to be in such an extreme situation as an ordinary person who has no clue of what’s unfolding, grappling with fear and uncertainty every step of the way.

Sports Kyunghyang: Seems oddly familiar, like something we’ve seen before. Here, we’re talking about the movie Target. The flick tackles crimes stemming from leaked personal information. However, it doesn’t break any new ground. It follows a well-trodden path paved by other thriller films. Detectives appear somewhat incompetent, while villains are capable of doing just about anything. The main character gives her best, but her struggles do little, and the supporting cast does less to support her. The scenes feel a bit familiar, and the story unfolds just as we’ve all predicted. One can’t help but wonder, “Why?” And that question remains unanswered. Nonetheless, it’s worth acknowledging Shin Hye Sun’s outstanding performance. She skillfully portrays her character, convincingly embodying changing emotions as her home turns into a source of fear.

Max Movie Target is an entertaining film with a relatively short running time. The movie delves into the world of online secondhand shopping, where everything is anonymous. It also accurately portrays the challenges of investigating secondhand trading crimes, including the complexities of jurisdiction assignment. The film effectively utilizes insights from current police officers and detectives, adding a touch of realism. However, some scenes where the protagonist willingly puts herself in danger don’t quite resonate. Another drawback is how the story becomes increasingly predictable as the plot unfolds.

Star Today: Target heightens suspense with events that feel incredibly real, pulling you in with the thought, “This could happen to me too, anytime.” The culprit in the story, who doesn’t show his face until later makes the fear grow. Because of this, viewers get to experience the raw confusion, anguish, and fear of the protagonist. The details of the crime, how brutal the culprit is, and the pain of the people hurt by the crime, stick with you. This isn’t just a fun thrill to watch, not even something you can view as a mere cautionary tale because we are living in the same fear right now.

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