Rating – **** (4/5)

Feng shui – Anyone who has seen the more popular Korean or Chinese films and shows in abundance might be remotely familiar with the concept. Even if you’re not, you are in for an absolute treat watching the now-released Korean supernatural thriller, Exhuma.

It is funny to think and kinda repetitive to reiterate how rooted, raw and authentic stories connect the most, when done well. More than a review piece, this is a call to the filmmakers out there, especially the ones who are interested in making horror – work on the dinkum purity of storytelling and not on the external factors right away on thinking ‘how to scare the viewers?’

Exhuma expertly showcases the blend of shamanism, occult practices with supreme conviction and rusticity.

A newborn of a filthy rich Ji-yong (Jae-cheol Kim) is suffering from a curse that has afflicted other men in the family. Instead of resorting to blooming science, he resorts to shamanism. Hwa-rim (Go-eun Kim), who is accompanied by her assistant Bong-gil (Do-hyun Lee) dentifies the problem as “grave’s call” – a disgruntled ancestor seemingly haunting Ji-yong’s descendants.
Of course, things continue to go bananas as human greed, wondering and questioning the dark force takes over.

I can safely say, Exhuma is one of the best horror films I have seen in the longest time. Apart from genuine commitment to being true and respectful to the rituals and practices that the geomancers and shamans practice, the makers are so particular in making sure the setting, the world-building is ‘spooky without trying to be spooky’.

Spanning six chapters, Exhuma definitely does test your patience with several moments of slow-burn sequencing and some blank and long moments of gradual camera movements. But they are worth it. They totally are.

And hallelujah! Finally, someone makes a film that creeps the shit out of you and doesn’t need a single jump scare to do that. Psychological horror is so underrated and Exhuma practices and works around the same. The fear always lies in the anticipation and the immersion of the viewer watching and being invested in the story.

Giving an aid to the setting here is the rousing background score, shamans with dancing geomancers pleading to the spirits and forces, occasional moments of over-the-top portrayal of the force in question present a thrilling and chilling viewing experience.

Interestingly, there are some flashes of humor but is never humorous, and that’s totally fine.
The storytelling always remains so rugged and intriguing that you cannot help but not be invested in it. Everything is explained, everything is shown and yet everything is eerie.

Korean supernatural thrillers are always considered to be elite and amongst the best, and Exhuma is a worthy entrant to that list.

For the ones who understand analogies better, when a story rooted to the culture that it otherwise alien to the world is shown with finesse, intricate execution and absolute conviction, more often than not – it lands. For us, Kantara has been a recent example to derive an understanding of.

This weekend, go and watch Exhuma, and you won’t be disappointed.