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The creepy brilliance of Thailand and South Korea’s horror film traditions find a common vessel in The Medium, a new feature about Southeast Asian shamanism gone insane.
The film is produced by Korea’s Na Hong-jin, the visionary auteur behind The Wailing, Yellow Sea and The Chaser, and it is directed by Thai horror maestro Banjong Pisanthanakun, best known internationally for his 2004 directorial debut Shutter, which was remade in multiple languages.
The Medium follows a documentary film crew tagging along with Nim (Sawanee Utoomma), a Thai shaman, as she travels to her ancestral homeland in the northeastern Isan region of Thailand. There, the team encounters Ming (Narilya Gulmongkolpech), Nim’s niece, who shows strange symptoms that seem to suggest she has inherited the shaman’s gift. The team decides to follow Mink, hoping to capture the shaman lineage passing between generations, but her bizarre behavior soon becomes increasingly extreme.
The Medium premiered at South Korea’s 2021 Bucheon International Film Festival, winning the event’s best film award. It was released theatrically in South Korea in July, earning $7.3 million, the sixth biggest theatrical total in the country this year.
Horror fans will be assured to learn that the new film is based on an original story by Na, whose 2016 art-house horror stunner The Wailing, touched on some similar currents of shamanistic insanity.
The Medium is Na’s first effort as a producer. The film was co-produced by the director’s Seoul-based banner Northern Cross, along with Korean powerhouse Showbox and Thai hitmaker GDH 559.
Specialty steamer Shudder will release the film over its service in North America, the U.K. and Australia/New Zealand on Oct. 14 — and The Hollywood Reporter has this exclusive first look at the international trailer.
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