WARNING: DO NOT PLAY (2019) Reviews and overview


Warning: Do Not Play is a 2019 South Korean horror film about an urban legend concerning a scary movie that was supposedly directed by a real-life ghost.

Written and directed by Kim Ji-won (The Butcher), the movie stars Seon-kyu Jin, Bo-ra Kim, and Ye-ji Seo.


A would-be female filmmaker, Mi-jeong,  investigates the urban myth based around a horror film that was allegedly directed by a genuine ghost. During her search, she meets Jae-hyeon, the real director of the movie…


” …toys with perceptions, often flickering between erratic, grainy footage and the slicker compositions, courtesy of Jin-won and director of photography, Young-soo Yoon, who play with vibrant reds and cool, minty blues that seem to pierce right through the screen. Frame by frame, they lure you into Mi-Jung’s story, one that doesn’t exactly have such a happy ending. Warning: Do Not Play is an essential piece of South Korean horror.” B-Sides and Badlands

“The film delivers moments of violence, moments to push you back in your seat, and others to make you jump […] With a winding narrative and shifting perspectives, this film works on multiple levels and Seo carries the film to great heights.” But Why Tho?

“The basic concept tells fans familiar with Korean horror what they’re in for, which is a medium temperature thriller favoring atmospheric suspense built from breadcrumb trail plot progression over frightful sights and visceral shocks. Set expectations no higher or lower than “average” and the film will meet you right there in the middle.” Culture Crypt

“It cleverly incorporates found footage into a conventional third-person procedural ghost story so that we watch the “found” footage with the protagonists before a novel twist flips expectation. Much more gruesome than the traditionally suggestive films of its inspiration, it offers a couple of jarringly visceral moments courtesy of a vicious, razorblade-wielding spectre.” Horror Screams Video Vault

“The story doesn’t serve its meta sensibilities, the meta sensibilities serve the story. If the script had been worked a bit more and horror was a primary focus, I think this could have been something very special. As it stands though, Warning is an unremarkable affair, with some remarkable things lining it. The performances and character subtleties make the film worth a watch.” Killer Horror Critic

” …the blood and the body count pick up in act two, as the film adopts some Blair Witch tactics – and openly cops to it, which is nice […] The film-within-a-film may never grasp the elusive Ring ambitions, but hang in past the setup and Warning delivers a competent mystery and some fun terror in the aisles.” MaddWolf

Warning: Do Not Play is more of a mystery movie than anything else, with some horror elements. It can be a little interesting thanks to its more artistic bent, but it loses its direction trying to be meta at times. By being arthouse, it becomes confusing, which isn’t the best thing for a horror movie to be.” Marcus Goh

“The best images in a ghost story are ones that recreate that gut-dropping moment when a shadowy outline tricks the brain into seeing a human form that isn’t there. It’s an important shot to nail, and Kim captures it perfectly. Ye-ji Seo carries the film effortlessly as the plucky horror-loving Mi-Jung; while Seon-Kyu Jin’s performance as the film-within-a-film’s director will leave you just as shaken as any spectral threat.” Nightmarish Conjurings

“The final third of the film does drag slightly, with a showdown that loses momentum after a while. However, Kim Jin-won sticks the landing by shining a dark spotlight on humanity having the capacity to be a hell of a lot more evil than an enraged specter ever could be.” SciFiNow

“While Seo Ye-ji is engaging as a heroine who cannot help but driven her curiosity despite the sense of dread accumulating around her, Jin Seon-kyu looks suitably scared and disturbed as required, and Ji Yoon-ho is also solid in his small but crucial supporting role. In conclusion, Warning: Do Not Play is an enjoyable genre piece…” Seongyong’s Private Place

” …there’s a lot of staring at computer screens, holding up cell phone flashlights to peer through darkened hallways, and the occasional splatter of blood. It’s competently made, and will likely pass the time, but it’s just too disposable to give much consideration in the increasingly bloated horror landscape.” The Spool

” …the horror scenes are relatively limited, being left mainly for the third act and to open the film. The bulk of the movie is actually a mystery, one in which Mi-Jung solves (sort of) by finding the creator of the film she’s been looking for. It’s probably better categorised as a mystery rather than as horror, given that you’re not really that scared for most of the film.” Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore

Warning: Do Not Play was released in South Korea on August 15th 2019.

On June 11th 2020, the movie began streaming on Shudder.

Technical details:
1 hour 26 minutes

More South Korean movies


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