Home TV Shows Reviews ‘DELETE’ (2023) Netflix Series Review - The Magic Phone

‘DELETE’ (2023) Netflix Series Review - The Magic Phone

The series follows a couple having an adulterous affair, who plan a new life together after discovering a phone that can erase other people’s existence

Vikas Yadav - Wed, 28 Jun 2023 22:51:39 +0100 5139 Views
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Apart from guns and knives, mobile phones can be considered a weapon in our modern society. Sometimes, a scandalous photo or a Twitter thread proves to be more than sufficient for character assassination. In movies as well as real life, people take out their phones and start making a video whenever they face harassment in public. These small, rectangular electronic gadgets can be both damaging and powerful. Ultimately, everything depends on how a person chooses to wield this device. They can either make someone's life or end up destroying their own career. Anything is possible.

In Parkpoom Wongpoom's Delete (written by Tossaphon Riantong, Wongpoom, and Jirassaya Wongsutin), this notion is elevated to supernatural extremes. There is a mobile phone with two icons: One for accessing the gallery and the other for opening the camera. Point this machine at someone and click their picture. A blinding white light will emanate from the lens, and the person whose photo you have clicked will disappear. Where do they go? Do they (temporarily) die or enter some other dimension? The series doesn't give an answer. It even refuses to tell us who made this phone in the first place. So, can someone come back? Yes. One only needs to use this phone to take a picture of the person responsible for your disappearance. But why don't the characters try to destroy this strange mobile? Apparently, it's waterproof, but what would happen if one were to throw it in a fire or hit it with a hammer? Again, the show refuses to go there.

Delete is not interested in going into these details. Its primary concern is drama, as it's about a mysterious gadget affecting the lives of its characters. The story is told through an affair between Lilly (Sarika Sathsilpsupa) and Aim (Nat Kitcharit). Both are unhappily married and thinking of leaving their respective partners. When they come across that peculiar phone, they decide to delete their respective lovers. One of them executes this plan, while the other displays hesitation. I will not spoil the specifics because there is so much fun in discovering the plot firsthand. The twists and turns are impressively laid out for the audience. Delete patiently hands out information and, as a result, remains engaging throughout its runtime.

The series nicely uses its episodic format to build suspense. Many streaming shows look overlong and feel as if they could have been bearable as a 2-hour-long feature. Delete, though, uses its structure well. It's bingeable because every episode ends on an exciting cliffhanger (except for one, but more on that later). I went in with zero expectations, and the series converted my attitude into its strength. Whenever I thought Delete was about to go bankrupt, it pulled surprises out of its hat. A warm/cold scene between June (Charlette Wasita Hermenau) and Lilly serves as a perfect example. I would be lying if I said critics go into a movie or a show with a blank slate. Everyone enters with some expectations. I thought Delete would single-mindedly exploit the phone thingy for narrative tricks. However, I was amazed to see how much it was willing to be emotionally dramatic, though it should be noted that Wongpoom is not that good during the emotional scenes. Instead of immersing himself in the moment, he maintains distance from the screen. This is why when characters mourn or express regret, we don't feel their pain intensely.

Delete suggests that those who love passionately are also capable of oozing extreme hate and committing heinous crimes. Consider the "murderers" who "delete" others in the series. There is a girl who gets her heart broken. Parents who lose their only child. And men who no longer have (or chase) their soulmate. Through these characters, Delete informs us that a crime carried out with a phone is reversible, but when you physically inflict harm on someone, you turn into a true monster. This brings me to the final moments of the last episode, which set foot inside the gruesome serial killer territory. The supernatural crime is merged with the real one, and the effect at first is wildly perplexing. I admired the intentions, but I wish the series had ended on a sad, creepy, or bittersweet note instead of setting itself up for a second season. Is it too much to ask for a sense of finality? In the current cinematic landscape riddled with prequels, sequels, and multiverses, the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Final Score- [7/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times



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