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What’s with the ‘it’ in ‘Monstrous’?

The evil confined within a sleeping hamlet reawakens in director Jang Geonjae’s upcoming Korean horror-thriller

Debashree Dutta Mar 02, 2022

'Monstrous' - Photo courtesy of TVING

A calamity engulfs the land when ‘it’ is un-earthed, luring a group of individuals into its vicious loop. The much-anticipated horror thriller Monstrous, co-written by Yeon Sangho and Ryu Yongjae and directed by Jang Geonjae, is centered on this. The narrative follows a group of archaeologists who are looking for unsolved hideous cases. As a result, a bizarre humongous Buddha figure appears, triggering a potential disaster and underscoring the fact that some secrets are better kept hidden. 

‘Jung Kihoon’ (Koo Kyuhwan) is an archaeologist who investigates the strange and the supernatural. An unforeseen event turns his life upside down. He currently runs the YouTube channel Monthly Ghost Story and publishes an occult magazine of the same name. Jung travels to Jinyang County to explore ‘Gwibul’ (A possessed Buddha statue) because of his ex-wife, ‘Lee Soojin’ (Shin Hyunbin), a brilliant cryptanalyst who’s an expert in decoding patterns. There, he encounters something weird and terrifying, while Lee’s only child dies, prompting her to travel to Jinyang County. Like Jung, she too comes across paranormal incidents, compelling her to seek explanations. The synergy of the two great actors who chase the reality of an unknown terror is already gathering expectations. Meanwhile, the locals including police substation head ‘Han Seokhee’ (Kim Jiyoung), her son ‘Han Dokyung’ (Nam Dareum), governor ‘Kwon Jongsoo’ (Park Hosan), and roguish ‘Kwak Yongjoo’ (Kwak Dongyeon), are confronted with a similar series of strange occurrences.

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The first poster for Monstrous heralds the dawn of demonic power. The appearance of the colossal noble Buddha, who is sleeping on the ground, creates a strange mood. His eyes, which are partially visible through a piece of cloth, are filled with mysterious energy, seemingly all-encompassing. It’s unsettling, scary, and intriguing. The creepiness is escalated by the remark on the poster, “I shouldn’t have found it” which definitely multiplies the ambiguity surrounding the identity of the giant Buddha. The focus of writer Yeon Sangho’s gripping supernatural thriller is on the genesis and type of havoc that the awakened spirit will unleash.

Photo: Courtesy of TVING

Above all, it builds expectations by broadening the scope of Yeon’s realm. From the K-zombie craze-creating films like Seoul Station, Train to Busan, and Peninsula, to the sensational Hellbound, or the drama The Cursed, which widened the genre’s scope by combining a Korean-style occult category with shamanism. Ryu Yongjae, Yeon’s co-writer, won the ‘Busan Film Critics Association Award’ for best screenplay as well as the ‘Asiatica Film Festival.’ Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, The Pied Piper, and other works are among his accomplishments. I believe that the combined experience of the two writers, as well as their unlimited imaginations, will create an entirely new paradigm for Monstrous.

Photo: Courtesy of TVING
Photo: Courtesy of TVING

Director Jang Geonjae, who has won prestigious awards, has ensured perfection in his works. A good example should be the film A Midsummer’s Fantasia. His expertise will undoubtedly shine in Monstrous. Furthermore, there’s little doubt that the outstanding ensemble cast will bring the characters to life. Actors who will more genuinely develop an original perspective are therefore intriguing K-drama lovers like me. The accursed Buddha statue, which has come to the surface, with Jung Kihoon facing the abomination, appears to be a mere speck out there in the poster; its power seems inexplicable and raises curiosity the most. The TVING original Korean supernatural thriller is releasing this April.

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