I enjoyed Ok Taecyeon's performance in Dream High, so I have high expectations for him in a main role. So Yi Hyun most recently played Park Shi Hoo's ex in Cheongdamdong Alice, but this is the first time I'm seeing her as the lead.
In this drama, detective Yang Si Ohn (So Yi Hyun) plays a detective who awakens from a six year long coma to find that she can see dead people. It plays out a little like The Sixth Sense in that the ghosts display their injuries, look at her, but don't speak, yet still find a way to enlist her help.
The episode started out with high tension action, yet it doesn't quite make sense. You have to wonder what kind of disorganized, ill-equipped police operation is being carried out for the sequence of events to have played out the way they did. Luckily there was a little seed of intrigue about Lee Hyung Joon's (Yang's boyfriend) death, or else I would have been pretty disappointed right from the start. Lee Hyung Joon seemed surprised at the identity of his killer (that was good) but if Yang was not part of the operation, what was she doing casually strolling down the street from it? And if she was part of it, why wasn't she in a strategic position?
Once Yang awakens from her coma, she is assigned to a throw away department (Lost & Found) to supervise Cha Gun Woo played by Taecyeon. Cha Gun Woo is a brash, immature detective who hopes to pursue serious police work one day. Their clashing chemistry works and you can see that they will use their opposing strengths to form a strong team in the future.
While many "thriller" scenes were timed right and did serve to build tension, all but one of the "horror" scenes did not excite me. They were too straightforward making Yang's fright seem like an overreaction. They would have been greatly improved by using skewed angles to disorient the viewer, using lighting for a more dramatic effect, even speeding up certain parts of the film.
Looking at director Jo Hyeon Tak's past work, I could only pull up three dramas. Harvest Villa was a 2010 suspenseful comedy, Daemul was a 2010 romantic drama, and Beloved was a 2012 romance. His apparent inexperience with the horror genre, and from what I've seen of Who Are You so far, has me fearing for the rest of the series.
Because of the nature of the drama, I do think the horror should be handled more skillfully, but the rest of the scenes are shot well. Taecyeon's expressions and virility are a big plus. So Yi Hyun's performance is well done, though she smooths back her hair so often it's distracting. Kim Jae Wook was perfect, but only appeared in the opening scenes. I'm sure we'll see more of him as the story progresses, at least we'd better! And importantly, the pacing was spot on, which gives me hope!
I'm anticipating simple scripts, like the first, to follow, but for the story to be entertaining enough to keep me coming back for more.