Exhuma (2024)
June 30, 2024 5:20 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] When a renowned shaman (Kim Go-Eun) and her protégé (Lee Do-hyun) are hired by a wealthy, enigmatic family, they begin investigating the cause of a disturbing supernatural illness that affects only the first-born children of each generation. With the help of a knowledgeable mortician (Yoo Hai-jin) and the country's most revered geomancer (Choi Min-sik), they soon trace the affliction's origin to a long-hidden family grave located on sacred ground.

Written and directed by Jang Jae-hyun. Cinematography by Lee Mo-gae. Edited by Jung Byung-jin. Music by Kim Tae-seong.

91% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on Shudder. JustWatch listing.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is pretty cool but the mythology got dense enough by the end that, it not being part of my background, I felt like I needed footnotes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:48 AM on June 30

I mean, in the end, we're looking at a cursed American baby, haunted by his Korean grandfather, who was buried in the home country in an unholy site, on the advice of a Japanese monk, who was really a fox, who put a giant dead samurai in place to guard the site of a mystical iron spike that spiritually divides the peninsula, but using feng shui, the geomancer determines that the spike is inside the samurai, so the shaman pretends to be a tree god to distract him while...

None of it is bad, it's generally pretty cool.

But it's a lot.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:52 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]

I really liked it. I actually did a deep dive into korean horror movies and shows last year, and one of the things I find really compelling about them is their use of mythology and rituals. So this made me very happy.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:17 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]

A friend said parts of this were metaphors for Japanese rule of Korea......
posted by lalochezia at 7:39 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]

Oh they're not even subtle about that.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:19 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]

I liked this, but I also found myself a little at sea and feeling like there were vast swaths of Korean cultural context I was missing in order to figure out what the movie was saying. I suspect the plot must seem convoluted to native Koreans as well, because there's just a ton of stuff going on, and it's, well, convoluted. I thought the script did a good job of characterization for a story with so many characters, especially in giving the sense that the four main figures all had some history together even if they didn't like each other all that much. I wish the cinematography had been a little less reliant on darkness, though. There were times I couldn't really tell what I was looking at.

This has a lot of superficial similarities to The Wailing, with its wealth of detail on Korean shamanistic practices and its conflict between Korean and Japanese magic users.
posted by whir at 7:10 AM on July 1

Yeah, I enjoyed this. It’s pretty long for a horror movie—2 hours 14 minutes—and the samurai doesn’t appear until the halfway point , so it feels kind of like two movies grafted together (not that the second half didn’t require the first half).

SPOILER ALERT (I know we’re not supposed to need this on the purple):
Gotta say, though… the climactic battle at the end was tense, but the evil spirit’s weakness is being hit by a wet stick?? I get there was meaning to it, but that’s gotta be the funniest means to defeat evil since the Wicked Witch of the West.
posted by ejs at 5:00 PM on July 1

Oh and I loved how everyone would go “oh shit, it’s a Japanese ghost? Those are the worst!” I don’t know how meta that was meant to be but I enjoyed the multiple levels I imagined it had.
posted by ejs at 5:05 PM on July 1

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