Compelling, impressive and important

Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror begins with mobile screens flashing messages.

Published: 29th May 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th May 2022 10:40 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror begins with mobile screens flashing messages. The words are terrifying on account of the identity of the victims—all young women, some even underage girls—who are forced to do unspeakable acts, which are then shared as videos in various groups. Props to the makers for not sensationalising the central topic of this documentary. We see the story unfold first through the eyes of a watchful journalist, who thinks this is just another cybercrime. In fact, the first half hour of the documentary serves as a reminder of the power of investigative journalism.

It is through the spunk of a few journalists that this story reaches prominence in South Korea. However, the power of the internet is so much that in the wrong hands, even those wanting to do good, get taken to task. This close-knit group of harassers who took perverse pleasure in traumatising young girls apparently went after the reporters too.

The documentary is impressive in how it shows the horrors faced by the girls, refusing to exploit it. By using paintings to depict the abuse and visuals of a drowning woman, the show makes us feel the suffocation and understand the psyche of the girls. The show is also a testament to the solidarity of women, who stood for each other. In the only over-the-top scene in the documentary, we are shown how, barring one reporter (male) who rues the decision to take up this story, the other reporters—all women—are glad they pursued it. 

In fact, some even feel bad about starting on this investigative journey a bit too late. This may be about sending a message about women empowerment, but it also establishes empathy for the pressures faced by the victims. As one woman says in the documentary, “If you think about it, what made this vile system thrive is not just the demand and supply. Yes, it is a vicious cycle that feeds on each other. But what really made this go on for so long is how we judge the victims of such a dastardly act.” 

At the end of Cyber Hell: Exposing an Internet Horror, it is clear that the onus is on each of us to nip this demand-supply monster right at the bud. With the end credits montage clearly showing that this phenomenon is not restricted to South Korea, it is clear that personal restraint and desisting from victim-shaming can make this world a safer place for women.

Cyber Hell
Director: Jin-seong Choi
Genre: Crime 
Platform: Netflix
Language: Korean


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