Exhuma Movie Review: Jang Jae-hyun's Exhuma stands as South Korea's highest-grossing movie of 2024, and just last week, it made its debut in Indian cinemas. If you're a fan of films that deliver spine-tingling thrills, this is one you won't want to overlook. There is a scene in Exhuma that may last no more than a second and involves a 'snake', and I am pretty sure that thing is going to haunt my nightmares for days to come. While the film boasts unsettling imagery and a chilling atmosphere, it eschews cheap jump scares in favour of a more nuanced approach to terror. Instead, it's the meticulous attention to detail, the eerie visuals, and the haunting score that truly leave a lasting impression. From A Tale of Two Sisters to The Wailing, Check Out This Spine-Chilling Selection of 5 Must-Watch Korean Horror Movies.

Hwa-rim (Kim Go-eun) and her assistant Bong-gil (Lee Do-hyun) are summoned to dispel a curse afflicting a newborn baby. As they investigate, Hwa-rim discovers that the curse extends beyond the infant to encompass the entire family, with ties to the deceased great-grandfather. Seeking assistance, they enlist the expertise of Kim Sang-deok (Choi Min-sik), a geomancer, and Yeong-geun (Yoo Hae-jin), his friend and a mortician.

Watch the Trailer of Exhuma:


Before long, the team realises that they are up against an unprecedented evil force. Their journey quickly turns perilous as they confront a vengeful spirit, a malevolent samurai ghoul, ominous reptilian creatures, and a series of gruesome murders.

I must admit, the initial scenes of Exhuma left me somewhat perplexed. Perhaps due to my limited exposure to Korean supernatural folklore, the film plunges headfirst into local occultism and its intricacies with the kind of pacing that left me struggling to grasp the mechanics of the 'Grave's Call' curse. Fortunately, my confusion was short-lived. As the theoretical aspects manifested into tangible experiences, the film not only captivated my attention but held it relentlessly throughout.

A Still From Exhuma

The turning point arrives when the quartet embarks on a journey to unearth a coffin from a remote tomb, tasked by their affluent employers to conduct a proper cremation. Naturally, events take a dire turn from this point onwards, yet the eerie ambiance - with an excellently done 'shaman' sequence - established in this scene only intensifies as the narrative progresses.

What truly impressed me about the film, besides its impeccable sound design, score, and cinematography, is its adept balance of mystery, suspense, and horror. The grim revelations unearthed by the protagonists not only evoke a palpable sense of peril but is also intertwined with captivating folklore steeped in historical context.

A Still From Exhuma

While my initial unfamiliarity with the folklore posed a challenge in the first act, Exhuma deftly provides further insights into curses, spectral entities, and shamanistic practices. The film delivers tense sequences, such as the chilling family attack and the harrowing, bloody temple assault, where the strategic use of obscured visuals enhances the ominous atmosphere. It is a smart ploy by the makers to keep the ghouls out of focus or in the shadows, as that gives a scarier aura to them. Because, I am being honest here, when you get to see them properly, they don't exactly come across that scary. Antrum Movie: The Deadliest Film Ever Made or Showy Marketing Ploy? Explaining 'Cursed History' of Horror Movie Which Has Allegedly Claimed Over 60 Victims.

A Still From Exhuma

So, it's worth noting that the climax of Exhuma focuses more in amplifying tension rather than indulge in sheer terror, as the protagonists confront seemingly insurmountable odds against an almost indestructible adversary. As a Bollywood enthusiast, I couldn't help but draw parallels between the finale of Exhuma and certain climactic sequences in Indian horror cinema, lending a sense of familiarity to the conclusion. Nevertheless, the film maintains a subtlety in its execution, with commendable camerawork, score, and performances, notably from Kim Go-eun and Choi Min-sik, their camaraderie is also what makes you care for these characters enough to root for their survival.

Final Thoughts on Exhuma

Exhuma is one of the more immersive horror films I have watched in recent times. Boasting of some great technical values, a captivating screenplay and good performances, the film offers plenty of chills, thrills and gore, but without going overboard on them.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 08, 2024 01:18 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).