Itaewon’s Halloween Crowd Crush Documentary Sparks Mixed Reactions 


It’s the first anniversary of the Itaewon tragedy that claimed at least 159 lives during last year’s Halloween festivities as people were crushed in a crowd.

While many continue to grieve, pay tribute, and/or refrain from Halloween festivities out of respect for those lost, a documentary on the tragedy has been produced.

Streaming service Paramount+ recently released a 2-part documentary titled Crush on October 17. It dissects the 2022 Halloween crowd crush in Itaewon, including recounts from diverse individuals present in the tragic event.

Crush is an immersive docuseries that unravels the harrowing events of the deadly 2022 Halloween crowd crush in Itaewon, South Korea where 159 young people were killed. The new P+ Original docuseries shares the untold stories of American students, off-duty U.S. military personnel, and Korean influencers, who found themselves caught in the heart-wrenching disaster. The docuseries shines a spotlight on the shared humanity that emerged from the darkness, reminding us of the need for compassion, unity, and the pursuit of justice in the face of unimaginable tragedy.

— Paramount+

Its release has been met with mixed reactions. While the docuseries is available exclusively via Paramount+, it is not viewable in South Korea. Netizens have expressed their outrage over this, blaming the government.

| Paramount+/YouTubeParamount+/YouTube

On the other hand, a victim’s friend (@em_tales_all on TikTok) reacted to the news of the documentary. They couldn’t get past the first few seconds of the trailer due to how triggering it was, especially since it’s only been a year since the tragedy.

So, today, I found out that Paramount+ is gonna create a movie based on my friend that passed away in Itaewon. Now, is this traumatizing? Very. I could not get past fifteen seconds of this trailer. How official is this? I’m not sure. Her parents sent me the link, and she got that from another one of her friends whose son had also passed. And before anyone says, yes, I understand a lot of people passed during this. It just hits me more because it was a really close friend of mine.

— @em_tales_all/TikTok


I hope @Paramount Plus can put pressure on the Korean goverment to do the right thing….. #southkorea #halloween2023 #itaewoncrush #storytime #justiceforitaewon #traveltiktok #documentary #seoultravel #seoulkorea #friendship #spookyseason #expatlife

♬ Autumn Leaves – Timothy Cole

Still, they feel that the story needs to be told. And they discouraged everyone traveling in Korea from going to Itaewon to celebrate Halloween.

Now, does the story need to be told? Yes. With that said, please, if you are going to Korea or Japan or anywhere, just please be safe. Now, if you’re going to Korea or you’re in Korea, please don’t go to Itaewon. We already know it’s gonna be very small, maybe congested, I don’t know how many people are actually going to be going this Halloween. The tragedy is still very fresh, or at least to me.

— @em_tales_all/TikTok

Netizens who saw the above TikTok video agreed that the trailer was triggering. Some also felt that the documentary was “too soon” and didn’t have good intentions. A couple of netizens commented that they suspect it’s just companies looking to capitalize off of tragedy.

Additionally, a memoir about the Itaewon tragedy has been released, serving as a tribute to those lost.

Read more below.

“We Are in Itaewon Now”: Tragedy Survivors And Bereaved Share Their Stories In New Memoir

 Many found it triggering, but also important. 

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