Exhuma: Movie Review

Exhuma Movie Review: A Supernatural Trip with a Cultural Twist

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"Exhuma" offers a captivating exploration of shamanistic rites within South Korea, blending supernatural intrigue with rich cultural elements. While it's unclear how accurately it portrays these rituals at all, the film immerses viewers in its crafted world that tows the line effectively between realism, authenticity, history, and fantasy.

Following a wealthy Korean family grappling with a generational curse, they enlist the aid of the young shaman duo Hwa Rim (Kim Go-eun) and Bong Gil (Lee Do-hyun) to address break the ancestral curse and save their latest newborn. Feeling that this will involve an exhumation, the pair contact the renowned geomancer Sang Deok (Choi Min-sik) and mortician Yeong Geun (Yoo Hae-jin) to help them with their job. But when they proceed the exhumation, it leads to unforeseen consequences as powerful malevolent forces are unleashed.

Clocking in at over two hours, "Exhuma" is a cinematic journey filled with surprises, ranging from spine-chilling moments to unexpected thematic shifts. While it may not fit neatly into the horror genre, its blend of mystery and supernatural elements keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. What begins as a supernatural mystery gradually transforms into a semi-patriotic exploration of the Korean peninsula, adding layers of depth and intrigue to the narrative. Some of these narrative elements work (mostly in the film's first half) but stumbles into a convoluted and messy second half. The film's standout features was its stellar cast and captivating cinematography. Led by Choi Min-sik's compelling performance, the ensemble cast delivers nuanced portrayals that anchor the story with authenticity and emotion. Meanwhile, the film's muted tones and atmospheric visuals create a palpable sense of foreboding dead, enhancing the overall viewing experience further. In summary, "Exhuma" offers a unique and thought-provoking cinematic experience that delves into themes of tradition, East Asian philosophy, history, and the supernatural. While it may not be a conventional jump scare-filled horror film, its blend of mystery, cultural exploration, and strong performances make it a fascinating and compelling watch.

Rating: 3 and a half reels

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