Screenplay Genre: Thriller/Comedy
Movie Time: 132 minutes
1. INCITING INCIDENT
The Kim family — Ki-taek (father), Chung-sook (mother), Ki-jeong (daughter), and Ki-woo (son) — are living in a small semi-basement apartment. They are poor and struggle to pay their bills with low-paying temporary jobs. But they are a close-knit family that does what they can to survive.
One day, a wealthy and educated friend of Ki-woo’s — Min-hyuk — comes to visit. Ki-woo and Min-hyuk go out for drinks. Min-hyuk sees that Ki-woo’s family is struggling to make ends meet so he suggests that Ki-woo takes over his job as an English tutor to the wealthy Park family’s daughter when Min-hyuk goes to study abroad. (00:11:07)
2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)
Ki-woo and his family go to great lengths to create fake credentials. He poses as a university student — introduced by the recommendation of Min-hyuk — and is quickly hired by the Parks to tutor their daughter Da-hye.
Seeing that Mrs. Park responds to personal recommendations, Ki-woo has an idea. He creates an opportunity for his sister Ki-jeong to pose as an art therapist for Da-song, their young son. We quickly learn the Kim family has an agenda. (00:21:26)
3. FIRST CULMINATION (Midpoint)
The whole Kim family has infiltrated the home of the Parks by recommending each other’s services. Each of them now poses as sophisticated skilled workers in different fields. The Parks have no idea that they know each other.
Ki-woo is tutoring Da-hye and a romantic relationship has blossomed between them. Ki-jeong is posing as an art therapist counseling Da-Song, the restless young son. Ki-jeong has framed Mr. Park’s driver for having sex in the car. He’s fired and Ki-jeong recommends a driver — Ki-taek is hired. The Kims get the Park’s long-time housekeeper — Moon-gwang — fired so that Chung-sook can take over as housekeeper.
The Kim family is now making excellent wages by exploiting the wealthy Park family. When the Parks leave to go on a family camping trip, the Kim family enjoys the luxuries of the Park residence.
Until Moon-gwang suddenly returns.
She explains that she has left something in the basement and reveals a hidden entrance to an underground bunker beneath the house. She had been secretly hiding her husband in the bunker, unbeknownst to the Park family. After Moon-gwang discovers the truth about the Kim family, she threatens to reveal their secret to the Parks if the Kims do not keep her own. (01:03:41)
4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)
After the Parks return home early from their camping trip due to a major rainstorm, the Kims trap Moon-gwang’s husband Geun-sae in the bunker and fatally wound Moon-gwang in the process. Both of them are locked in the bunker as Ki-taek, Ki-jeong, and Ki-woo struggle to escape the house undetected as Chung-sook does her best to cover their escape.
The next day, Mrs. Park decides to host a house party to celebrate Da-song’s birthday. The Kim family attends the party in various roles. Ki-woo goes down to kill Geun-sae. By this time, Moon-gwang, his wife, has died from her injuries. Geun-sae attacks Ki-woo, seemingly killing him, and escapes into the house in a rage. He grabs a knife from the kitchen and stabs Ki-jeong in front of everyone at the party, killing her. Chung-sook kills Geun-sae. Ki-taek, triggered by being continually looked down upon by Mr. Parks, grabs the kitchen knife and kills Mr. Park. He quickly flees the scene. (01:51:32)
5. THIRD ACT TWIST
Weeks have gone by. It has been revealed that Ki-woo survived his traumatic injuries and is recovering from brain surgery. He and his mother are convicted of fraud. They are back living in the semi-basement apartment. Ki-taek has disappeared and is still wanted for the murder of Mr. Park.
Ki-woo discovers that his father — Ki-taek — has been hiding in the bunker to escape authorities. He scavenges food from the new owners of the house when he can.
Ki-woo writes a letter to Ki-taek, vowing that he will one day be successful enough to buy back the house and free him. (02:00:28)
Michael Lee has worked in development as a script reader and story analyst for a major studio, Emmy Award-winning production company, and iconic movie director.
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