Director: Tae-Hyung Kim
Starring: Sung-min Lee, Park Hae-Joon, Kim Yoo-Jeong
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Runtime: 115 Minutes
RATING: 3 Stars
With prayer beads in one hand and an axe in the other, a monk hunts down a millennia-old spirit that’s possessing humans and unleashing hell on Earth. – From IMDB
South Asian horror, and Korean in particular, just have something special about them. I am always excited when I see that Netflix get a new one. They are great at creating interesting stories and lore, and are one of the best at creating atmosphere and suspense. And this film has all of those things in bucket loads.
It is a bit of a slow burn, it isn’t particularly gory or violent. In fact there is very little scary or horrific things that happen on screen at all, and not a jump scare or tired horror trope to be seen. The story is kind of told in two parts. One part is the story of the monks that are looking for a way to stop a demonic force, and the other is about two detectives, trying to solve the murders that is demon is leaving in it’s wake. And because of the crime element, the whole film does kind of play out like a crime/thriller, that kind of has some creepy/supernatural elements to it. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you go in expecting an outright horror, you are bound to be disppointed.
Because of the slower pace of the film, it would have been quite easy for it to lose the audience along the way, but the use of a countdown timer, counting down to the 8th day, means that there is always a sense of dread and anticipation, helping to keep us invested in the story.
Characters though seem to have been left a little to the wayside. None of them are particularly well developed, or have much backstory. So as harrowing as the past may have been for some of these lead characters, it was hard to sympathise when we knew next to nothing about them. The actors with the smaller parts though, the ones playing the possessed civilians, although they had very little to do, all gave a fantastic performance, mostly just through gestures and facial expressions. Truly the scariest thing in this film are the behaviours of the possessed people. Excellent work.
A good slow burn horror, but not for fans of all out, gory and terrifying films.
‘The 8th Night’ is streaming now on Netflix