After an earthquake hits the auction house for an organ trafficking operation, buyers and sellers alike scramble to survive in this high-octane Korean series.
In a seedy hotel room, No Hyung-soo (Jin Sun-kyu, Extreme Job) excitedly negotiates down the price of potential sexual services from Joo Young (Jun Jong-seo, Burning, TIFF ’18). But as she steps out to take a call, Joo Young’s faux-innocent facade drops, and we watch a savvy young businesswoman re-enter the room to run a crowded auction for the soon-to-be-harvested organs of her now-incapacitated target. When a sudden earthquake hits, it levels both the building and the playing field for those trapped inside.
Nothing is what it seems inside this hotel: a helpless girl ensnared in a sex trafficking operation suddenly becomes a ruthlessly efficient auctioneer. Scummy customers haggling over the price of virginity are detectives working to crack down on sexual exploitation. Predatory buyers of black-market organs are revealed to be desperate relatives willing to sign away their own organs as collateral for the chance of receiving a kidney for their dying father. As the aftershocks of the earthquake continue, we watch Joo Young and No Hyung-soo scheme and struggle for a way out, backstabbing and bickering as they go.
Based on Lee Chung-hyun’s award-winning short film of the same name that premiered at TIFF ’16, this darkly funny, endlessly entertaining, and unpredictable series keeps us guessing what might be around every corner. Every character ― buyers, sellers, and bystanders alike ― is thrown into a desperate struggle to survive not only the crumbling building, but also the circumstances that brought them there in the first place. When the day starts with a black-market organ auction, who knows where it might end?
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: violence, mature themes, coarse language