‘Somebody’ Review: Tragedy and Blood in the Age of the Dating Apps

Korean content, both series, and TV shows keeps rolling onto Netflix and the streaming service is better for it. Korean creators have been developing amazing shows and movies for decades. So it feels quite nice to see that they are being recognized by modern audiences. Netflix has been the main supporter of this type of content, and this week they release a new thriller show that is basically made for the generation born into the dating app era. It is hard to know someone, but there is always somebody out there for everyone.

Somebody is the title of the show, and it is written and directed by Jung Ji-woo, who in the past has directed several shows and movies going in all directions when it comes to their genre and tone. The show stars Kim Young-kwang, Kang Hae-lim, Kim Yong-ji, and Kim Su-yeon. The series tells the story of a young programmer who develops an app that ends up becoming one of the most popular dating apps in her country. However, one day, her app starts being used as a weapon to kill people. Now she must use her abilities to find out who is using her creation for evil.

Somebody arrives on Netflix with just eight episodes that tell a complete story. There is no second season for this show, and there are definitely no filler episodes during the season. The story can be seen pretty much as extracted from a headline in the newspapers. A man using a dating app to catch girls and then kill them in cold blood. You can see it happening in your head, and it is probably happening somewhere in the world. It is a very chilling story. One that makes you think about the horrors of living in an era when people cannot meet their significant other in real life.

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Ji-woo is a very solid director, and it is his direction, the one thing that makes the show stand out from all normal crime thrillers. The cinematography is exquisite, and the use of lighting is quite solid. In today’s era of television, we are seeing a lot of shows that are overlit and make the sets look more like supermarkets than anything else. Here, the lighting is subtle and really brings a lot of atmosphere to each of the scenes. This is especially evident during the darkest moments of the show when the killings are taking place.

Somebody is definitely a slow burner, but one that is very pretty to look at. Ji-woo’s style really makes a difference, and seeing the selection of shots and angles in each scene really makes you realize that the director and his team really put a lot of effort into the production. The pacing can sometimes feel like a glacier, but this pacing is needed so that we can understand just how heavy and important each of the decisions made by the characters is. The series might not be for those looking for a series with tons of action and twists. However, it is absolutely for someone who likes making connections.

The casting is also very interesting, and they really managed to convey the strangeness of the entire situation. These characters are not normal, they don’t behave like normal people, but that is fine because it is precisely the kind of performance that might give you chills at night. Kim Young-kwang, and Kang Hae-lim are, of course, the standouts as they play the main characters. Hae-lim, more than anyone else, is able to create a character that begins as completely endearing and then transforms into an absolute nightmare.

The show is violent but never cruel, at least until the end, when the deaths become more and more graphic. So, if you’re squeamish, you have been warned. Young-kwang, who plays the killer in the show, is quite scary, not because he is violent per see, but because the violence is always latent in his character, but he never lets it out. It always makes you wonder what the character is capable of, and the answer is not a pretty one. The rest of the cast is quite solid, and all the characters are interested in their own right, even if their participation isn’t that big.

The score is another element that is equally fascinating. The music is quite good and really manages to elevate some scenes by quite a lot. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is almost perfect. The collection of songs that appear on the show is amazing, and it really makes you think that Ji-woo and his team have excellent taste in music. Especially because the songs fit the mood. There are many remixes in the soundtrack, but they are good ones.

In the end, Somebody is one of the best Korean movies of the year, and one of the best thrillers period. The premise is very close to home, especially nowadays, and the way the characters face each of the situations they come across really tells you that the writing was done in a very detailed and thoughtful way. For anyone who wants a good mystery or a serial killer story, Somebody is a must-watch.

SCORE: 9/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.