Hong Ji-hyo (L, Jeon Yeo-been) and Heo Bora (Nana) team up to find a missing boyfriend who may have been abducted by aliens in the upcoming Netflix streaming series "Glitch." Photo courtesy of Busan International Film Festival
BUSAN, South Korea, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Sci-fi comedy-thriller Glitch is looking to become the next breakout hit from South Korea on Netflix, with a genre mash-up and twisty plot that ultimately revolves around its two leading women.
Glitch premiered Thursday at the Busan International Film Festival, one day before it will drop on the global streaming platform, which has been home to several blockbuster Korean dramas from Squid Game to Extraordinary Attorney Woo.
Director Roh Deok, who made the 2013 romance Very Ordinary Couple, said the show is "not limited to a single genre."
"It is a buddy comedy and has a little sci-fi, thriller and mystery, as well," she told the audience at a screening of the first four episodes of the 10-part series.
Glitch tells the story of Hong Ji-hyo (Vincenzo star Jeon Yeo-been), a 30-year-old office worker whose life seems relatively stable, if uninspiring. She has a job and a long-term boyfriend, Lee Siguk (Lee Dong-hwi), who wants to take the next step and move in together, even if Ji-hyo appears to just be going through the motions.
We quickly learn, however, that things are not as buttoned-down as they seem in Ji-hyo's world. Phones, televisions and computer screens around her regularly go on the fritz, mixing electromagnetic static with a rapid-fire stream of confusing images and ominous messages.
Ji-hyo also happens to occasionally run across a little gray alien straight out of UFO central casting, with a scrawny body, oversize head and big eyes. (And, for some reason, a baseball helmet.)
She tries to convince herself that it's all in her head, but things take a turn when Siguk disappears. Was he abducted by aliens? Or did he ghost on a relationship that had been stuck in neutral for four years? Mysterious crop circles and a frightening apocalyptic cult enter the mix, as well.
Ji-hyo's quest for answers leads her to a UFO forum and a motley band of conspiracy enthusiasts, played for comic effect. It is her close encounter with one of them, tattooed YouTuber Heo Bora (former K-pop star Nana), that becomes Glitch's center of gravity.
The two share a past that slowly reveals itself as they team up to solve the mystery of the missing boyfriend, and it is their growing bond that grounds the divergent -- sometimes jarringly so -- strands of comedy, mystery, darkness and otherworldly weirdness on display.
Whether Glitch can pull all these strands together into a satisfying whole, and in the process become the next South Korean breakout hit on Netflix, remains to be seen. But the first four episodes are filled with enough twists, cliffhangers and surprises to keep audiences guessing and likely wanting to come back for more.
Glitch is appearing as part of the "On Screen" section of the Busan International Film Festival.
The streaming category first appeared last year with three selections, including the hit Hellbound. In 2022, nine titles will be presented, including the world premieres of seven Korean-language series.
Glitch was penned by Jin Han-sae, who wrote the popular 2020 Netflix series Extracurricular. The series streams Friday on Netflix.