The 8th Night

  • 17 Jul - 23 Jul, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly

The 8th Night draws on contemporary Korean horror which keeps the blatant gore at bay in favour of a foreboding mystery. “2,500 years ago, a monster started opening the door that bridges the human realm to Hell, in order to make humans suffer.” As the introductory sequence continues, we learn that Buddha stepped in to save humankind from what this monster wrought, and though its two eyes escaped – one black, one red – The Enlightened One ended up collecting them and placing each in a sarira casket. In 2005, an anthropologist, Professor Kim Joon-cheoi (Choi Jin-ho) unearths one of the caskets in the shifting sands of the India-Pakistan border. Kim is driven mad by his discovery, and when we meet him again in 2020, he’s a mumbling mess of dementia and preparing to perform some kind of blood sacrifice. The once-in-a-lifetime instance of a super blood moon alerts an aged, dying monk named Hajeong that Kim’s ritualistic antics have set the return of the monster into motion. Hejeong, keeper of the other sarira casket, entrusts his young novitiate Cheon-seok (Nam Da-reum) with the relic, and tasks him with locating Seonhwa, aka Park Jin-soo (Lee Sung-min), a man with a tortured past who trained with the monks, only to return to society. Even Detective Kim gets a dose of how heavy the spirit world can get in the end, and has to acknowledge that not everything is as cut and dry as police tape and a coroner’s report. The 8th Night revels in this alignment of what’s beyond right and even if it trades in big scares for that notion, what’s left is creepy and watchable.