Folk horror cinema has been one of the most popular horror subgenres for almost as long as horror has existed. From classics like Hands: The hands of fate (1966) and the wicker man (1973) to more modern releases like Robert Eggers’ The witch (2015) and by Ari Aster midsummer (2019), the subgenre is still going strong and remains beloved among the horror community. Recently, the horror of pregnancy has begun to break out. Of course the heavy hitter rosemary’s baby started this subgenre in 1968, but several films in recent years have added some quality additions to the package, such as False positive, preventand Bonemaker: The Bone Woman.
South Korean filmmaker Kang Park has combined the two in the new film. serieswhich Park also wrote and stars Seo Hyun-woo (decision to leave), Sun Youngryu (Our love story) and Eun-woo Shim (Sought).
The film follows a couple who observe the Korean tradition of Seire, a 21-day period after the birth of the child, where parents must have excellent behavior, stay close to home, and not allow strangers to interact with the baby or child. . home. After Woojin, the baby’s father, receives a text message notifying him that his ex-girlfriend of six years has died, he breaks the rules of the Seire, goes to the service and funeral, and reminisces about the past. Afterwards, Woojin begins to experience horrifying nightmares and life-altering problems begin to have an effect on his family’s lives. Woojin must right his wrongs before a dark presence of bad luck can drive him and his family to the brink of madness and possibly even death.
series premiered in October 2021 at the 26th Busan International Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize.
Slow Cooker Korean Folklore
The Korean folklore aspect is an extremely cool element of the film. Granted, it makes for something of a slow-moving plot device, but it still comes across as a haunting presence that gets worse for the family as the movie progresses. In the end, the viewer is not quite sure what is reality and what is on the mind of our main character Woojin. The story adds layers with each scene and culminates in a shocking climax, and even then, we’re not exactly sure if Woojin has gotten over the dark result he received for breaking Seire’s rules.
South Korean horror has been put on the map, especially in the last decade or so. movies like the lament, Train to Busanand most notably, the Academy Award winner Parasite have set the stage for quality, memorable horror thrillers. series is among some of these strong South Korean horror movies, having generally received positive reviews and now coming to digital platforms and video on demand courtesy of Film Movement.
Vivid Pregnancy Horror and Dark Themes
series dabbles in many pregnancy themes throughout its runtime. Not only from the stress of becoming a new parent and protecting the child during their early childhood, but also from the heartbreak and dark thoughts and feelings of loss from miscarriages, even leading to suicide. As the story unfolds, more information is revealed about Woojin’s past relationship and the effect it seems to have on his sister-in-law and her husband as they are trying to get pregnant.
There are some particularly graphic and brutal scenes regarding pregnancy themes, which could be triggering for some viewers who have been through similar situations. That being said, these are common feelings and problems throughout human life, and seeing characters go through similar situations can also be a reminder that we are not alone in the world with our heartaches and problems. These moments are made with the intention of carrying the story; they are not released simply for the fun of it, which makes them that much more palatable. Still, be prepared for some very graphic scenes that remind dragon house. It has moments that are just amazing.
Great direction, technical work and performances
For a debut film, Kang Park’s direction, and particularly his moments of intimate dialogue between the lead actors, is phenomenal. This comes from some excellent writing and fantastic cinematography and editing by newcomers Geong-Heon Hwang and Jee-hee Han. The film’s dark and creepy tones make it feel more like a ghost story than anything else, as that balance a semi-supernatural atmosphere with very real and disturbing themes. Again, this contributes to the slow, sluggish nature of the film, and it may not be for viewers who need action and jump scares, but the psychological payoff is certainly worth the wait for those who are interested.
series is an extremely strong film in both the folklore and pregnancy horror subgenres, and it’s all the more impressive due to the fact that it’s a feature debut. We highly recommend checking it out. series will be available to rent or buy on VOD on June 16, 2023, thanks to Film Movement.