Fantasia 2019 Review: Door Lock [-FILM-]

Door Lock Poster

Door Lock…

Director: Kwon Lee
Writers: Park Jung-Hee, Kwon Lee
Stars: Hyo-Jin Kong, Ye-Won Kim, Seong-oh Kim


Kyung-min lives alone in a studio apartment in a large building under the false assumption that this filing cabinet for humans is safer for her. With so many tenants, surely she will be one of the many faceless people and will be able to live a steady and comfortable, if boring, life. Meticulous with her daily habits, she immediately notices when the keypad cover of her door lock has been left in the open position and there seems to be grubby fingerprints left behind. On top of that, Kyung-min has been waking up feeling dizzy every morning. It would appear that she has most definitely caught the attention of at least one person.

Door Lock Image

Door Lock, from director Kwon Lee, is a remake of sorts of Sleep Tight. The original film focuses on the point of view of the stalker, but Door Lock tells the story from the view point of the victim. The set up of each film is the same: a woman living alone has no idea that someone drugs her every night and then roams around her apartment, doing as he wishes. The motives of the stalker, however, are very different from one story to the next. In the original film, the man in question has one goal; to make his victim unhappy. He is unhappy and cannot stand that his victim seems to remain happy regardless of what life throws her way. For Kyung-min, her stalker seems to imagine a world in which he can keep her all to himself and they will live happily ever after.

Door Lock Image

Door Lock nicely sets up it’s premise and builds an intriguing story with some obvious red herrings thrown in and a cutting commentary on just how dismissive men can be to women. Kyung-min is treated like an ill behaved child by the police when she calls them with various concerns and later she is treated like a suspect. In fact, the only person in this movie who sincerely wants to help her is a girlfriend from work. All of the men in this movie are useless or toxic in one way or another, so it’s of no consequence when bodies start adding up. Though there are a few truly eerie visuals, overall, genuine suspense is in short supply. Lee has adapted the central idea into more of a horror movie and none of the characters are likable or interesting enough to really care about and the final moments don’t even come close to packing the punch that Sleep Tight does. On it’s own, Door Lock is a pleasant horror thriller, but it’s impossible to not compare a remake to the original and, sadly, Door Lock feels like a bland reimagining.

Played as part of Fantasia Film Festival

Lisa Fremont
Images: Fantasia Film Festival

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