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Bargain Season 1 Review — a vicious, highly thrilling, and wholly original horror masterpiece

Updated: Nov 30, 2023


This review of the Paramount+ original series Bargain will contain limited spoilers.

You will be hard-pressed to find a more engaging, enthralling, and entertaining series like the Paramount+ K-Drama Bargain. The story is a blistering horror story that's like nothing you've ever seen.

Bargain has a mind-blowing premise that leads to a jaw-dropping finale reveal. Written and directed by the relative newcomer to series television, Jeon Woo-Sung, their show is an incredibly thrilling and wholly original, arm-rest-grabbing horror masterpiece.

Bargain's script starts with an expert setup from Jeon Woo-Sung and co-writer Byeongyun Choi. The story follows two main characters, one being a demanding yuppie businessman, Noh Hyung-Soo (Vincenzo's Jin Seon-kyu), who visits a young call girl, Park Joo-Young (Burning's Jeon Jong-Seo, just fantastic here), ready to spend $1,000 on this pristine virgin.

Hyung-Soo, though, senses something isn't right, spotting inconsistencies in her story. His anger grows, and he hates being lied to. However, the young woman who lied about her virtue finds him amusing but keeps asking him if his blood type is AB-, which is strange. She also accepts the demand for a discount of under $100, which is all too agreeable.

The Paramount+ series Bargain Review and Plot Summary

That's because it's a trap, drawing despicable men in, only for Kkangpae thugs to raid the hotel room, tie men up, and then auction off their organs to the highest bidder. However, when Park begins to auction off No's kidneys to the highest bidder, an earthquake hits, trapping the gangsters, call girls, black-market bidders, and victims together, desperately trying to survive.

Bargain is an adaptation of the 2015 South Korean short film of the same name. Woo-Sung and Choi have laid out a six-episode miniseries that never tires or feels stretched beyond its limits. The story is so suspenseful and enthralling that you won't be able to stop watching.

That's because the script is thoughtful and consistently surprising. It's a "video game" script where the escapees move to a different room or floor to complete a task and move to another stage to survive. As each episode passes, the stakes increase, and the storytelling moves along at an adrenaline-pumping pace.

The entire experience is quite visceral, which triggers anyone with a fear of claustrophobia.

The main players must climb through walls, air ducts, dilapidated hallways, and even a giant hole from the roof to the basement in the middle of the hotel.

All of these characters, including Train's Chang Ryul, his character Guk-ryeol amusingly thinks he is owed Noh Hyung-Soo's kidney, cross paths, and essential details in the back stories affect their choices as they move forward.

You have gangsters tossing bidders to their deaths, a couple of deranged basement dwellers whose job is to get rid of bodies by literally feeding them to the fishes, and religious zealots (led by Broker's terrific Lee Joo-young) who believe buying organs is being ordered by God.

Is Bargain good or bad?

Bargain is gloriously vicious, uncompromising, and near-perfect streaming television. (The series' best episode, "Panic Room," is a classic.) Along with performances full of anxiety-ridden stress and humor, while delving into morally complex issues, Bargain is binge-worthy, word-of-mouth, escapist television that's head and shoulders above the rest.

Is Bargain worth watching?

Bargain is worth watching because it's the most original series, network or streaming, that is only rivaled by Netflix's Beef, which came out last April. Along with stellar performances from its leads, you may not be watching a better series all year, network, or streaming.

Verdict: "Bargain is near-perfect. Along with performances full of anxiety-ridden stress and humor while delving into morally complex issues, this Paramount+ streaming series binge-worthy, word-of-mouth escapist television that's head and shoulders above the rest." 10/10

What did you think of the Paramount+ series Bargain? Let us know in the comments below!

You can watch this film with a subscription to Paramount+.


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