Sector 7 could’ve been a legit monster movie. An underwater oil field located south of Jeju Island, Hae-jun is working as a marine equipment manager on an oil prospecting ship called Eclipse. This movie tries to be everything. It tries to be ‘Alien’. It tries to be a comedy and dramatic but none of the deaths are satisfying, none of them evoke any sort of emotion. Joining the crew later is Jeong-man, a former colleague of Hae-jun’s father, assigned to Eclipse as captain. Though his job is to oversee the withdrawal of the ship, he suggests conducting some drilling one last time.
By this description alone, I had to see the film. Even after the bad reviews I’ve read and the trailer I watched, I still had to see it. Of course, I should have known better. You know the formula, one by one, these characters will find themselves hunted by the monster and eventually meet their demise. It is here of course that we learn of their broad values and principles, which will come useful once the monster gets unleashed. It was very hard to grasp their principles though, because the reworking of source material — this film clearly attempts to riff on The Host and on the original Sigourney Weaver-featured Alien series, is god-awful. Sector 7 failed to deliver their plot despite its good set up.
In Sector 7, it was apparent that no one cared about the fundamental question: why does the monster attack people? Even more absurd, was that the film didn’t even present to relate to energy issues. Maybe global warming, fossil fuels and their non-renewability? Nope, it was just about a monster on an oil rig. But, enough about the silly plotholes. The saving grace of this film is one lone actress. Known as “Ha Ji Won” in Korea, she is very well known for her acting in Korean dramas, but I think this film will definitely take her career to a new level. Her character is very real, goes through the entire emotional roller-coaster throughout the movie, and is strong in moments without dialogue as well.
It’s unfortunate that the bar was already set unrealistically high for the movie even before it opened. Indeed, director Kim Ji-hoon’s followup to his well-received 2007 historical epic ‘May 18’ is really just a well-made B-monster movie, without the kind of smart scriptwriting needed for it to meet critic and audience expectations. Sure it doesn’t have what it takes to be outstanding, but those looking for some good old straightforward thrills will find that ‘Sector 7’ delivers those just fine. For the rest of us ‘movie snobs’, we will have to find our entertainment elsewhere. Overall, Sector 7 delivered nothing new in the action/horror genre. With a realistic setting and some taut direction, this nameless beast could have become the new, fresh face of Korean movie monsters. It’s a real shame.