Occult thriller ‘Exhuma’ starring Choi Min-sik to hit theaters

 Choi Min-sik, from left, Kim Go-eun, Yoo Hae-jin, and director Jang Jae-hyun pose at a press conference for the movie 'Exhuma' in Seoul. Jan. 17. Yonhap

A new supernatural mystery thriller starring Choi Min-sik, Kim Go-eun, Yoo Hae-jin and Lee Do-hyun will hit theaters next month.Titled “Exhuma,” also known as “Pamyo” in Korean, the Korean film revolves around mysterious events affecting a geomancer, an undertaker and a young shaman duo after they exhume the grave of an ancestor from a wealthy family for a large amount of money.The Korean word “pamyo” means exhumation for relocation or cremation. It is also practiced when an unfavorable location in feng shui of an ancestor’s burial site causes misfortune for their descendants.Director Jang Jae-hyun said Wednesday the idea of making the film came from his childhood experience of witnessing an exhumation.”When I was a child, I watched people exhuming a tomb in a rural area where I hung around every day to move it for a highway construction. I still remember the smell and colors of the soil from the tomb that appeared to be 100 years old or more,” he said during a press conference at a Seoul theater.He recalled feeling a mix of curiosity and fear while watching them dig out an old wooden coffin and perform a ritual, wondering what would emerge. “My heart pounded when I filmed the close-up shot of the weathered coffin.”

A master of the occult genre, known for “The Priests” (2015) and “Svaha: The Sixth Finger” (2019), Jang expressed his desire to portray an energy that cannot be seen with the naked eye.”Exhuma” marks the main cast members’ debut in the genre. For veteran actor Choi Min-sik, in particular, it is his first in his 35-year acting career. He plays the role of Sang-deok, a seasoned geomancer with 40 years under his belt, in the supernatural thriller.”I don’t usually enjoy this kind of film because they are too scary. I joined because of the director, whose previous works I liked very much,” he said. “I really enjoyed watching him visualize a metaphysical and abstract subject from beginning to end, and I learned a lot from him.”Yoo Hae-jin said he was curious about how the director would make such a story feasible. “I thought it was really weird when I saw the film’s draft version after all the shooting.”Kim Go-eun admitted she was initially afraid of working on a set of this genre but ended up enjoying the filming process.Kim and Lee Do-hyun portray the shaman duo Hwa-rim and Bong-gil, respectively, hired by the eldest son of a wealthy family to investigate a mysterious generational disease plaguing their lineage.

Sensing that the source lies within the ancestral tomb, Hwa-rim enlists aid from the geomancer Sang-seok and a mortician named Yeong-geun (Yoo Hae-jin) for an exhumation. Their actions then unleash a malevolent force buried underneath.The actors shared how they struggled not to be seen as sloppy by professionals.”I frequently visited a shaman’s house and ate together to learn the gestures and dances of possession,” Kim said.Choi spoke highly of Kim’s resulting performance, joking, “I was worried she might find a second job.””I think her unprecedented transformation as a shaman is one of the highlights of the movie,” he added.Yoo also took lessons from one in the profession to ensure authenticity as a top-tier undertaker.”I just wanted everything, including skills as an undertaker and his relationship with Sang-deok, to look natural as if he always does this,” he said.Lee Do-hyun, best known for his role in “The Glory” (2022), did not attend the press event 슬롯게이밍 as he is currently in the military to perform his mandatory service.

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