THE LADY FROM 406 is a quirky, whip-lash inducing horror short. It is the third film from writer and director Kyoung-mi Lee, who has previously directed feature-length films The Truth Beneath (2016) and Crush and Blush (2008). THE LADY FROM 406 stars Young-ae Lee, who previously starred in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.
The film opens with the title character putting tape over her bathroom air vent, attempting to shut out cigarette smoke from her downstairs neighbors. Frustrated, she writes a note to the tenants of apartment 306 asking them to stop smoking for the sake of her young daughter.
However, the lady from 406 has some bad-neighbor habits of her own, like jumping loudly on the floor or playing cassette tapes of a man snoring to get even. And when she delivers her note to #306, her neighbor starts to act just a little bit weird.
THE LADY FROM 406 is 14 minutes long, and it packs a lot of intense psychodrama into that brief runtime. Themes of mysticism and paranoia are injected into the quiet terror of the young woman’s ordinary life. A harsh score commands attention with screechy high-pitched strings and thunderous, heart-pounding drums. The ending to THE LADY FROM 406 feels rushed and perhaps a little too ambiguous, but overall, the film nails an ominous tone and can’t-look-away drama.
THE LADY IN 406 is the kind of short that sticks in your mind, leaving you puzzling it over for days afterwards. Even after several watches, I found myself thinking, What is this film trying to tell me? What does it want me to think and feel about what I’ve just seen? Ambiguous and symbolic, THE LADY FROM 406 is fun and startling as it toys with the question of how well we really know our neighbors.