The Korea Herald


Korean occult film, series open the new year

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Jan. 2, 2024 - 15:19

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“The Bequeathed” (Netflix) “The Bequeathed” (Netflix)

An occult film and a separate series on such topics particular to Korea are opening the year, targeting foreign audiences as well as those interested in Korean-style occult thrillers.

“The Bequeathed,” a Netflix original series set for release on Jan. 19, is a six-part occult thriller directed by Min Hong-nam, who worked as an assistant director under Yeon Sang-ho on 2016's landmark zombie thriller “Train to Busan.”

The series revolves around Seo-ha (Kim Hyun-joo), who is suddenly notified of the death of her father's younger brother.

As his only surviving relative, Seo-ha inherits the family gravesite, but her half brother Young-ho (Ryu Kyung-soo) approaches her, arguing for his share of the estate. Days later, cops Seong-joon (Park Hee-soon) and Sang-min (Park Byung-eun) show up to investigate a series of mysterious murders that had taken place nearby.

Based on the webtoon of the same title, "The Bequeathed" was co-written and planned by Yeon, extending his unique occult worldview of characters and stories from global hit series “Hellbound” and zombie thriller “Peninsula,” which was a sequel to "Train to Busan."

While the story is relatable to those in Korea, it is unclear whether the international audience will share the feelings that Koreans attach to the topic of protecting the family burial site.

“Exhuma” (ShowBox) “Exhuma” (ShowBox)

Following the occult series' release, star-studded mystery flick “Exhuma” is expected to hit theater screens sometime in February.

Helmed by "K-occult master" Jang Jae-hyun, known for “The Priests” (2015) and “Svaha: The Sixth Finger” (2019), the film boasts a cast of renowned actors, including Choi Min-sik, Kim Go-eun, Yoo Hae-jin and Lee Do-hyun of "The Glory."

“Exhuma” centers on Sang-deok (Choi), who is tasked with relocating a tomb with Young-geun (Yoo), an undertaker, after young exorcists Hwa-rim (Kim) and Bong-gil (Lee) notice through supernatural phenomenon that a wealthy family in Los Angeles will become bathed by dark power.

Jang, acclaimed for popularizing the occult genre in Korea with his exorcist and cult films, returns for the first time in five years with his new project.

As Jang's two previous aforementioned works attracted 5.4 million moviegoers and 2.4 million admissions, respectively, “Exhuma” is likewise anticipated to lure fans of the occult genre to the theater.

The release date for “Exhuma” remains undecided, according to the distributor ShowBox.