Yoon Young-hwa (Ha Jung-woo) was once a top news anchor, but gets demoted due to an unsavory incident. Pulled from primetime TV news and recently divorced, he is now the jaded and bitter host of a current affairs radio program. One day during his morning show, Yoon receives a peculiar phone call threatening to blow up the Mapo Bridge, a major bridge that crosses the Han River and connects Mapo District and Yeouido, Seoul's main business and investment banking district; it is also just outside Yoon's studio building. At first, Yoon takes it as a joke or prank call and tells the terrorist to proceed. He watches in shock as the caller follows through on the threat and detonates explosives that cause Mapo Bridge to collapse, killing innocent people and trapping others.
Realizing this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make his comeback as a newscaster, Yoon purposely doesn't call the police. Instead, he sets up a makeshift television studio from his radio station, and negotiates with his former boss, the profit- and ratings-obsessed news producer Cha Dae-eun (Lee Geung-young) who'll do anything to beat the other TV stations in their coverage of the bombing. Then Yoon strikes a dangerous deal with the terrorist to exclusively broadcast their phone conversations live, in real-time, as the whole nation watches.
The newsroom erupts in chaos as Yoon, Cha, the police, other broadcasters and the Blue House all exploit terrorism for their own agenda. The only exception is Yoon's ex-wife, a reporter who volunteers to report from the site of the terrorist attack. As the live show progresses, Yoon gradually realizes how little control he has over the situation. The terrorist, who claims to be a 50-something construction worker who lost three of his coworkers in a senseless industrial accident while fixing the bridge, says the families of the victims weren't compensated and demands a public apology from the president for the deaths of his colleagues. With several people remaining on the bridge as hostages, the terrorist threatens a second explosion. He also reveals to Yoon alone that he put a bomb in the anchor's earphone, and that if the president doesn't apologize, the bomb will explode in his ear, live on air.Ha Jung-woo as Yoon Young-hwa
Lee Geung-young as Cha Dae-eun
Jeon Hye-jin as Park Jeong-min
Lee David as Park Shin-woo
Kim So-jin as reporter Lee Ji-soo
Im Hyun-sung as newsroom monitor engineer
Kim Hae-in as Noh Hyeon-jin
Han Sung-chun as radio PD
Lee Chung-hee as radio writer
Kang Shin-chul as newsroom audio engineer
Kang Jin-a as newsroom writer
Kim Hong-pa as police commissioner Joo Jin-chul
Choi Deok-moon as secretary Kim Sang-mo
Choi Jin-ho as anchor Lee Sang-jin
Kim Dae-myung as Park Shin-woo (voice)
Partially funded by the Network of Asian Fantastic Films, The Terror Live was the closing film of the 17th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. It was released in theaters on July 31, 2013.
It also received a limited North American release beginning August 9, screening in 25 cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Fullerton, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Seattle, Dallas, San Diego, Houston, Vancouver, Toronto, New York City, Irvine, New Jersey, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Washington and Honolulu.
Despite opening on the same day as blockbuster Snowpiercer, The Terror Live performed well at the box office, on the strength of good reviews from film critics and strong word of mouth. According to the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), it consistently placed second on the box office charts, reaching two million ticket sales six days after its release. With a modest budget of ₩3.5 billion (US$3.12 million), the film hit its break-even point during its first week of release. After 19 days of release, it has accumulated 5 million admissions to date.