Chungmuro/Film News
The Traffickers sells organs, movie tickets
by | September 2, 2012 | 30 Comments

Out go the capers, in come the thrillers. This weekend at the box office was dominated by dark thrillers, with Daniel Choi and Lim Chang-jung’s new organ-harvesting crime film The Traffickers taking top honors in its opening week, in what looks like a pretty suspenseful ride.

(Box office No. 2 went to My Neighbor, a horror-thriller in its second week, in which a young girl is murdered in an apartment building. The film unfolds in the ensuing days amid the build-up of suspicion and fear between the other residents, who all start suspecting each other, just as the true murderer locks eyes on his next target. It stars Kim Yun-jin, Kim Sae-ron, Chun Ho-jin, and Ma Dong-seok.)

By the latest totals, The Traffickers drew 560,540 viewers over its opening weekend to take first place at the box office. That’s a far cry from The Thieves, for instance, which has by now racked up more than 12 million ticket sales and taken up second place in the all-time box office record, over The King and the Clown and just under The Host. But I’d say it’s an accomplishment in any case, given that both The Traffickers and My Neighbor are 19+ films, which is like an NC-17 rating — and those are practically doomed from the moment they receive that designation, since you’re cutting out a huge swath of the movie-going public.

The Traffickers is about a black-market organ-trafficking operation, run by Lim Chang-jung (Scout, Sex Is Zero), and the desperate husband (Daniel Choi, Ghost) out to find his missing wife from the passenger boat she disappeared from. Here’s the trailer below:

Lim Chang-jung’s smuggling ring operates out of a boat that runs between Korea and China, picking victims from its voyager pool.

The film has done a pretty good job with the promo and character posters below, which read (in order):

  • 800 million won. I can make you a deal with your heart.
  • If you need money… call me. I’ll take yours too. Black-market organ trafficker Young-kyu / Lim Chang-jung
  • My wife… and her boarding records… have all disappeared. Missing person’s husband Sang-ho / Daniel Choi
  • I’ll handle the job beautifully. In-transit surgeon Kyung-jae / Oh Dal-soo
  • The woman in the wheelchair? I saw her. The only witness Yuri / Jo Yoon-hee
  • I prepared you a real good one. Transporter Yoon-shik / Jo Dal-hwan
  • Please save me. Missing person Chae-hee / Jung Ji-yoon

I love these ticking-clock, isolated-location whodunnits, although this one definitely occupies the grisly end of the spectrum. It’s like an urban legend and your worst travel nightmare had a baby. And then harvested its organs to sell.

Via Star News, Newsen


30 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. stellar

    This just gave me shivers.

    • 1.1 Ivoire

      This sounds like a movie I should watch. Subject matters such as this one interest me. I am off to read your review now, thanks for the article.

      • 1.1.1 Ivoire

        This movie sounds grim and scary, basically, one of your worst nightmares. I would still like to watch it, eventually (when it is subbed).

  2. ilikehim

    2 words: Daniel Choi.

    • 2.1 ella zala

      i like these 2 words. hmmm ^_^

    • 2.2 Noelle

      those are good two words.

    • 2.3 houstontwin

      I concur!

    • 2.4 sohyz

      all that matters to me to make me watch this.

  3. Kiara

    Love all your movie reviews. JB …Thank you sooo much :).

  4. rearwindow

    I would have no interest in this film if not for Daniel Choi. I adore him.

  5. acejihyo

    squirmish is totally my territory. excited for this one.

  6. queencircles

    All these movies coming out look sooo good. This looks creepy and awesome. The kim sae ron movie sounds intense too. I’m still waiting for theives to come out internationally lol. R2b opened this weekend here in chicago so i’m going to see that… but i waaaaaant all these tooooo. Damn

  7. True2u

    It remind me of the K-movie “Heartbeat”

  8. Village Mrembo

    spooky! and the tomboy from ‘unexpected you’ she totally looks like a woman lols

  9. canxi

    I really want to see this. I am actually a fan of grim thrillers and Korea does them best.

    I read that the director actually got in touch with real organ traffickers to get a 411 on the shady business & all I was thinking was “So…they were in jail right?”

    • 9.1 ala

      im pretty sure they got caught and they were interviewed in jail
      …if they weren’t…o_o

    • 9.2 Ivoire

      Hi Canxi,

      This “I read that the director actually got in touch with real organ traffickers to get a 411 on the shady business & all I was thinking was “So…they were in jail right?”
      left me literally with my mouth open (and that rarely happens). I do hope that the interview took place in jail, otherwise, WOW… If these traffickers are still loose. And I do know that many more are probably free as birds and still going on about that sad and awful business.

      • 9.2.1 canxi

        Hi Ivoire & ala!

        I know, it’s one of those things that people should elaborate on instead of leaving it out in the open like that, lol. It would make much more sense that they were in jail, but it’s still creepy to think about organ traffickers all willing to talk about it… o.O;

  10. 10 UJ

    Woah just the article is creeping me out!

    I gotta watch this movie XD

  11. 11 ck1Oz

    Ehm….the photos alone made me want to run away.Don’t think I can watch it.Not even a movie review although it looks really well done.

  12. 12 Village Mrembo

    Weird how i came from reading this and went on to watch a jdorama about a liver donation and all the drama before and after the surgery, didnt know one wrong move and a seemingly innocent donation could be considered a crime!

  13. 13 Jessica

    Is Korea one of the markets where their local films often beat Hollywood ones?

    • 13.1 haruko

      This is total conjuncture :D, but:

      I was there for a few weeks, and just judging from the movie posters….I don’t think so. However, it didn’t look like local movies did BADLY at all. Just that there were more Hollywood flicks overall. Hollywood does pump more money IN to the industry than any other country, though, so it’s not surprising that it kinda dominates, IMO.

  14. 14 Fabmari

    I love the posters. After lookng at heavily photoshopped posters and magazine images, it is nice to see some rough skins and pores.

  15. 15 Yue

    I don’t like thrillers. But, I’m intrigued by what Choi Daniel could bring to the table… This might be interesting…

  16. 16 ladymoxie

    Woooooooaaaaaahhhhhhhh! Lim Chang Jung in a suspense thriller? I’ve seen him do nothing but comedies. But based on the posters and trailer, I think he’s good too! I gotta see this!

  17. 17 jyyjc

    I immediately think Ahjussi (wonbin’s movie) when I read this article. There was so much organ harvesting in that movie *shudders*.

  18. 18 Tiff

    Omg totally my thing! And Daniel Choi. Definitely my type 😉 can’t wait!

  19. 19 lovepark

    This looks terrifying and thrilling. Glad to hear it’s doing well in the box office. It’s been a while for one of Lim Chang-jung’s movies to do well in the box office.

  20. 20 Carinne

    Reminds me of the film Tourista. I wonder which one is more gruesome.

    The poster speaks VOLUMES.

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