June 24, 2020 Warning: Do Not Play (Movie Review)
If you are a Horror fan, then you are probably no stranger to AMC’s streaming service, Shudder, which is basically Netflix for Horror fiends. Shudder is home to hundreds of Horror films, documentaries, and original content like its beloved Creepshow series, its Cursed Films docu-series, and many others. In its efforts to expand its already diverse array of content, Shudder’s latest original is the South Korean Horror film Warning: Do Not Play which premiered on Thursday, June 11, 2020.
Written and directed by Kim Jin-won (The Butcher 2007), originally titled Amjeon, and released in South Korea back in August of last year, Warning: Do Not Play’s story follows aspiring Director Mi-jung (Ye-ji Seo: Diary of a Night Watchman series, Save Me series). Struggling to find the perfect concept for her Horror film, she learns of a mysterious film entitled Warning. Rumored to be so terrifying someone in the audience allegedly had a heart attack during the filming, Mi-jung is consumed by curiosity. The catch – the film is rumored to be shot by a ghost. As the mystery unravels, she begins to re-work her own screenplay using her search as the premise. However, the closer she gets to the truth about Warning, the more the lines between her film and her life begin to blur.
A compelling plot, anyone who knows Asian Horror know it has always been known for is its dedication to storytelling. That in mind, the attention to detail in Warning: Do Not Play is so intricate you cannot look away, despite the warning to do just that. It goes beyond your typical ghost story, combining haunted house tropes and found footage similar to 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, forging a cocktail with an immensely creepy kick. As Mi-jung conducts her research, you will find yourself just as mesmerized, invested in digging deeper, until it is possible too late.
Then, as Mi-jung finds Jae-Hyun (Seon-kyu Jin: Six Flying Dragons series, Kingdom series), the director of Warning, you are thrown into a downward spiral flipping you back and forth between reality and the film. This not only helps put you in the film, but also creates a fully immersive experience as Mi-jung attempts to continue her own filmmaking.
As the lead actress, Ye-ji Seo truly shines as you watch her demeanor transforms into something a lot more unrelenting. Her ability to change emotions with the flip of a switch forces you to feel a myriad of emotions is brilliant and an essential element in the final reveal of Warning: Do Not Play. Furthermore, her performance presents a sense of turmoil within the audience. The question is… do we continue to root for her, or has she become the very thing we should fear?
Overall, Warning: Do Not Play is a deliciously creepy and captivating Shudder original. For those that love ghost stories with a modern twist, this is right up your alley. It is nail-biting suspense paired with heart-pounding creepy elements that make for a haunting viewing experience. Taking typical Horror tropes you love and turning them on their head, Cryptic Rock gives Warning: Do Not Play 5 out of 5 stars.