Midnight FM (2010)

Ko Sun-Young is an arrogant celebrity DJ on the last two hours of her final overnight shift on a highly-rated radio station. While popular with the listeners, Sun-Young also has her detractors for being “too American” in her tastes and, instead of talking up Korean movies and K-Pop, she’s all about the music of Leonard Cohen and the movies of Martin Scorsese. So it’s no surprise Sun-Young’s decided to move to her beloved America for a groundbreaking medical treatment to cure her young daughter’s neck injury-induced mutism.

Not if her biggest fan can help it.

Someone’s invaded Sun-Young’s home and holds her daughter and sister hostage and forces her to play a deadly question-and-answers game based on the history of her show. And every wrong answer results in a gruesome pain inflicted on her loved ones. Sun-Young is also instructed to play songs featured on past shows and to recreate the introductions verbatim-by-memory.

Now that’s a radio studio! It’s all about the technical details. That, along with great acting, cinematography, and directing and you have a ratings winner.

The best “Americanized” references to guide your viewing on Midnight FM would be Jodie Foster’s Panic Room meets Colin Ferrell’s Phone Booth—only the “room/booth” is the confines of a radio studio. Unlike most Korean thrillers that opt for extreme graphic violence, Midnight FM (Simya-ui FM in its homeland) opts for some good old fashioned, American-styled cat-and-mouse games of the film noir variety between the secret admirer and victim (thus the victim’s love of American film and music). You may also reflect back to the J-Horror hits Pulse (2001) and One Missed Call (2008), only this time the tormenting calls aren’t from the beyond.

You can rent the subtitled version of Midnight FM on Google Play, Vudu, and You Tube Movies. There’s a free version—without subtitles—on Vimeo. There’s also a four-part free version—with subtitles—on the Korean TV Facebook page.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.

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