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Festival Film Review: Socialphobia


Socialphobia, a debut film from Hong Seok-jae, was one of the fifteen sold-out screenings at this year’s LKFF. For an indie film, it had a strong reception at the Korean box office, aided in part by the actor Byun Yo-han who played in the hit TV drama Misaeng, but also because of its contemporary theme: the power and viciousness of social media.1

The plot involves a netizen who makes hostile remarks when a soldier commits suicide and who thus sparks a violent online reaction. One amateur online TV station decides to try to make her apologise, but when they get to her apartment they find her dead, having apparently hung herself. The police close the case as being suicide, but the netizen vigilantes suspect murder, and start investigating.

The movie is fast-paced and is very entertaining, exploring the world of online trolls, cyber-bullying and gaming communities, asking questions about the ethics of behaviour in the virtual world. A great way to spend a couple of hours, but without any major set pieces or moments of tension probably not much of it will stick in the memory for very long afterwards.

Hong Seok-jae (홍석재) Socialphobia (소셜포비아, 2015) score-2score-2score-1score-0score-0

One minor gripe about the screening venue. My neck wass still hurting four days later from having to crane round the heads of the people in front of me in order to read the subtitles. Odeon Panton Street is not a place to go for a subtitled movie unless you are able to pick your seat. After that screening, I immediately ruled out watching any further LKFF films at that cinema. But they were probably all sold out anyway.

Socialphobia screened as BIFF Selection strand of LKFF 2015 on Saturday 7 November.

  1. The film had box office admissions of over 249,000, comfortably covering its estimated budget of $200,000. []

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