No need to hunt for a good movie

Time to Hunt

Starring Lee Je-hoon, Ahn Jae-hong and Park Hae-soo

Rated MA15+

Time to Hunt is a grim, riveting South Korean thriller with some of the best suspense in recent memory.

In a near-future South Korea crippled by crime and inflation, four friends carry out a heist on a casino to fund their escape to Taiwan, but they soon find themselves in mortal danger.

The main characters are simple but engaging, and the streamlined plot clearly establishes their friendship, heist plan and what they stand to gain, thoroughly investing us in their experiences.

The heist runs smoothly, resulting in a brief lull as the main characters savour their victory and their new life ahead, only for their (and our) sense of security to come crashing down with the introduction of Han (Park Hae-soo), a stolid, sadistic mob enforcer.

Most good thrillers feature clear dramatic obstacles and a sense of danger and urgency, but Time to Hunt conveys intense fear more effectively than almost any other recent thriller.

As their situation worsens, the main characters’ stress and fatigue are written in their heavy breathing, sweat and a rhythmic score evocative of pounding heartbeats. The taut, gruelling action scenes make great use of sound and set design, and Han is a chilling, relentless antagonist who is never far behind.

Time to Hunt is one of the best examples of thriller-as-horror in years, and is available for streaming on Netflix.

– Seth Lukas Hynes