Viennale 2014 – Day 7: Deu tae-ro ra-i-beu (The Terror Live)

The Terror LiveDeu tae-ro ra-i-beu
South Korea 2013
Written by Byeong-woo Kim
Directed by Byeong-woo Kim

I probably would have been a lot more impressed with “The Terror Live” if I hadn’t already seen eight and a half seasons of “24”. Yes, the fact that this time we follow the events of roughly two hours – in real-time – through the eyes of a news anchor distances this a little from the long-running thriller series, but still, I wouldn’t necessarily call the concept of “The Terror Live” particularly fresh and/or original. Especially since they not only took the real-time OR the terror concept, but both.

Still, what they make of it definitely manages to entertain and occasionally even thrill. I probably liked the first 30 minutes or so the most, with the angry caller, the terror attacks, and how the news anchor slowly gets drawn into this nightmare, the destiny of hundreds if not thousands of people resting on his shoulders. It’s also quite well shot and felt pretty realistic for most of the time (before going overboard in the last 15-20 minutes). There are a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming, and the ending also is a little darker than your average Hollywood-movie (and possibly even “24”). And even though it’s not very original anymore, the real-time concept works really well (and arguably even more so than in “24”, since here, you don’t have any gaps for commercial breaks).

Unfortunately, there is one twist near the end – concerning the identity of the terrorist – that didn’t really make sense to me. They find out that for a specific reason, their main suspect can’t be the one responsible, and I felt that it was quite unrealistic that they would learn this particular fact that late in the game. Also, the action gets a little over the top near the end. And as much as I liked the soundtrack, the main theme was a little too reminiscent of Cliff Martinez’ score for “Drive”. Finally: I was surprised that no one brought up the fact that the news anchor taunted the terrorist and dared him to blow up the bridge. I’m not saying that because of that, he’s responsible – he had no way of knowing that the threat was real. But I thought it was weird that no one called him out on that. Overall, “The Terror Live” is a nifty little thriller that’s held back by the fact that “24” has done it all – and arguably better – before.


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