(director/writer: Jang Jae-hyun; cinematographer: Lee Mo-gae; editor: Jeong Byeong-jin; music: Kim Tae-seong; cast: Kim Go-eun (Hwa-rim), Choi Min-sik (Kim Sang-duk), Lee Do-hyun (Bong Gil), Yu Hae-jin (Yeong-geun), Jeon Ji-Ki (Jeon Ji-Gi), Jae-cheol Kim (Ji-yong Park); Runtime: 13; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Kim Young-min, Jang Jae-hyun; Well Go USA Entertainment; 2024-S. Korea-in Korean with English subtitles) 

“A scary, moody, and suspenseful Korean occult, supernatural, horror, ghost film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A scary, moody, and suspenseful Korean occult, supernatural, horror, ghost film written and directed by Jang Jae-hyun (“The Priests”/”Swaha: The Sixth Finger”). The film is a big hit in South Korea.

Ji-yong Park (Jae-cheol Kim) is the patriarch of a wealthy Korean family in LA, a family whose first born suffer from strange paranormal events (can’t stop crying). Park calls two young shamans, Hwa-rim (Kim Go-eun) and her apprentice Bong Gil (Lee Do-hyun), to visit them in LA and find the problem. They connect the bizarre disturbances to a vengeful spirit of a family ancestor (a great-grandfather) buried in Korea and they say it is a case of “graves call,” whereby a haunting is caused by a restless spirit.

The shamans return to Korea and get help from the exalted older geomancer (Choi Min-sic) and a cagey undertaker (Yu Hae-jin), as the four of them exhume the cursed ancestor buried in a Korean mountaintop village and prepare to cremate the body.

During the excavation evil forces are released, and that results in some dire threats for the LA family.

The first half of the film is entitled “Yin Yang and the Five Elements.”

In its complex second half, the chapter is entitled “The Nameless Grave.”

The film uses symbolic means to tell of Korea’s terrible colonization by the Japanese and the ancestor’s connection with the Japanese. Too bad the story became unnecessarily confusing, as it blended together sci-fi elements with Eastern shamanism.

Though the folklore horror pic loses its flow in the intense second half with too much that’s repetitive, it’s still a substantial and enjoyable film.

It played at the Berlin International Film Festival.