Thursday, February 01, 2024

A Bloody Lucky Day, on Paramount+

Oh Taek has a hard ride ahead of him and the unfortunate cab driver does not even have one of those beaded seat-covers. His biggest problem will be his customer. The stranger is a talker and also a serial killer, who soon shows his violent side during their long drive to the port city of Mukpo in the ten-part A Bloody Lucky Day, which premieres today on Paramount+.

Oh is an amiable fellow, but mistakes in life left him deeply in debt. He felt “lucky” when he woke up, so he figures it must be coming true when Geum Hyuk-soo offer of one million won for a ride to the notorious smugglers’ port. Of course, there is a reason he is vastly overpaying for the long-haul ride. He needs to get out of town after his recent murder has been discovered. He conveniently happened to be a resident at the hospital where the barely surviving witness was taken, but he still left too much physical evidence behind this time.

At first, Oh assumes Geum’s grisly stories are very bad jokes, but he soon realizes he has a psychopath in his cab. His passenger’s macabre origin story might hold relevant clues for later, but Geum’s claim an accident left him unable to experience the sensation of pain makes him particularly scary, especially when he demonstrates with a sharp knife. However, Oh really starts worrying when Guem hints he knows more about the cabbie than he initially let on.

This is one heck of a dark Korean thriller, almost as grisly as
I Saw the Devil. Frankly, bingeing it can take a toll on your soul. It is a visceral white-knuckle ride, but ten episodes is still pushing it. There are a lot of flashbacks, most of which are justified, revealing events and context at moments of maximum impact. Even with a little padding, Pil Gam-sung does a heck helming all ten episodes. Bloody Lucky Day is dark, but its darkly stylish.

Lee Sung-min, who has evolved from a schlubby everyman character actor to gritty middle-aged protagonist in
Shadow Detective is perfectly cast as the sad-eyed, angsty Oh. Few thesps could handle the cabbie’s descent from naivety to a very angry place, so convincingly. (Bloody Lucky Day is the kind of show that lends itself to an overuse of the word “dark.”)

Speaking of dark, Yoo Yeon-seok is so creepy and menacing as Geum, each minute the psycho is still breathing will stir-up viewers’ bile. He is maybe the evilest human-monsters you will ever see in a TV/streaming series, including
Hannibal. On the other hand, Lee Jung-eun is absolutely heart-wrenching as Hwang Soon-kyu, the grieving mother of one of Geum’s victims.

As a sizeable bonus, Jeong Man-sik (whom Korean films fans will recognize from dozens of films, like
A Hard Day and The Tiger) does some of his career-best work as Det. Kim Joong-min, a jaded cop who starts following the trail of Geum’s bodies. He is so good, he could carry a sequel series on his own.

Kim Min-sung & Song Han-na’s adaptation of Aporia’s web-comic is not afraid of sinister plot twists. Bad things happen to good people, but that makes it even more suspenseful, since nobody is safe. Uber and Lyft should also love this series, because it will scare people out of cabs—especially the drivers. Recommended for fans of Korean thrillers and serial killer series that come close to horror,
A Bloody Lucky Day starts streaming today (2/1) on Paramount+.