The fact that this is the result of the collaboration of Na Hong-jin and Banjong Pisanthanakun makes The Medium an ideal image of the supremacy of Asian horror films. Imagine, if you are a fan of horror films, especially those from Asia, you must be familiar with these two names.
Korean filmmaker Na Hong-jin, who in The Medium is the scriptwriter and producer, is the maker of the classic cult horror film The Wailing (read the review here). Meanwhile, Pisanthanakun is a prominent Thai filmmaker who made his directorial debut with his extraordinary breakthrough, Shutter, which was later remake by Hollywood, as well as Alone and Pee Mak. Then, what will be the result of the collaboration of these two big names in Asian horror?
With the setting of the northern Thailand region, to be precise in Isan. A team of filmmakers is working on a documentary about the background and cultural history of the shamans there.
Explains the idealism behind the existence of spirits in everything. From rice fields and houses to people, animals, and artifacts, both evil and good spirits have an influence on everything humans do. A female shaman named Nim, whose family line has been a mystically chosen shaman, is the main resource person.
The conflict began, when Nim came to attend the funeral of the husband of his elder sister, Noi. Seeing the behavior of Noi’s daughter, Mink, showing a suspicious behavior, Nim and the team start to pay attention to their niece. Unexpectedly it led to the revelation of the dark secret of the past about the family of the female shaman with a climax of terrible horror consequences that claimed many lives.
The Medium is presented in the form of a mockumentary and found footage. The presentation is reminiscent of leading found footage films, especially those that share the horror genre, such as Blair Witch Project and REC.
A well-structured exotic horror that doesn’t reveal too much of its banging power until towards the latter half of the film, there’s no doubt that The Medium has all the ammunition to be a solid horror film. Over its 130-minute run, the film evolves from a quasi-documentary to a wildly and deeply shocking surprise, with a disturbing ending on both a visual and psychological level.
The performance of the main players really deserves credit for their solidity. Especially to the debutant actress Narilya Gulmongkolpech, the actor Mink. The same goes for Nim’s main protagonist, Sawanee Utoomma.
The Medium as a whole is gruesome and bloody. While there aren’t many powerful, straightforward horror tools to use, the inattentive audience may be surprised by the intense sense of dread from the second half of the film in which the exorcism ceremony for Mink is set up and continues. The scenes that appear along with the exorcism ritual are a mix of occult and gore, creating a heart-pounding horror.
For those who like the film to have a complicated and well thought out storyline, what develops will satisfy that desire. With a very solid cast and confident direction ensuring that this is one film that will resonate for a long time in the horror scene of Asia and possibly the world.
The Medium is one of the brilliant modern horror works, although perhaps for some people its 130 minutes duration will be too long. However, how much viewers agree on this depends on their perspective and desire for horror and gore. For those who are not weak at heart, this is a film worth recommending.
The Medium can be seen in Indonesian cinemas starting October 20, 2021